Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Slashes Funding for Conservation Programs

Wildlife and conservation unfairly targeted once again

06-07-2012 // Aislinn Maestas

The Agriculture Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations is proposing to cut more than $500 million from vital conservation programs for FY 2013. This move continues the trend in Congress of disproportionately targeting wildlife and conservation programs despite their proven track record of helping the environment and rural economies.

Once again, members of Congress have chosen to slash funding for programs that protect soil, conserve water and enhance wildlife habitat,” said Aviva Glaser, agriculture legislative representative for the National Wildlife Federation. “Every cut to these programs rips a new hole in the fabric of America’s conservation heritage.”

National Wildlife Federation is particularly alarmed by the following proposed cuts:

  • Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program:  $40 million cut (47% cut)
  • Farm and Ranchland Protection Program: $50 million cut (25% cut)
  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program: $350 million cut (20% cut)
  • Conservation Stewardship Program: $75 million cut

In addition, the Wetland Reserve Program is being capped at 163,250 acres for FY13 and the Grassland Reserve Program will be capped at 23,000 acres for FY13.  All of these working lands programs provide incentives to farmers to implement practices that benefit soil, water and wildlife.

“Rural farmers have a long and proud history as stewards of our nation’s lands, helping to provide clean air, clean water, and abundant habitat for wildlife,” said Glaser. “Programs like the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program and Environmental Quality Incentives Program give farmers the support they need to continue this legacy. Cutting funding for these programs threatens rural farmers, the lands they help protect, and the wildlife they save.”

“As the House and Senate move forward to agree on a final bill, we are counting on our conservation champions to restore funding for these programs in order to meet the needs of farmers and the lands, waters and wildlife they work hard to conserve,” said Glaser.

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