“House leadership should build on the Farm Bill’s bipartisan legacy of collaborative, cost-effective conservation success”
Washington, DC – The House of Representatives failed to pass an entirely partisan version of the Farm Bill today. Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, urged the House to take a different approach as it moves forward:
“The Farm Bill has far-reaching impacts—it touches every community and it is the largest single federal source of conservation funding on private land. The bill that failed today would have gutted clean water protections, harmed wildlife and their habitats, and cut nearly a billion dollars in conservation funding over 10 years. Today’s failure on the House floor provides an opportunity to build bipartisan support by restoring key programs and removing damaging provisions.
“The farm bill’s conservation programs have done much to improve America’s grasslands, waterways, and wildlife habitat over the past fifty years. Many elements of the conservation title in the bill that failed today are praiseworthy, however, we urge the House to restore the nearly $800 million cut from conservation programs before bringing the bill back to the floor.
“We also urge the House to remove the numerous damaging provisions that are entirely unrelated to the ordinary business of the Farm Bill. The bill should not repeal protections for the nation’s smaller streams and wetlands, putting the drinking water for a third of all Americans at risk. Another provision would allow pesticides to be sprayed directly into rivers and streams without oversight. In addition, the bill would exempt Federal wildlife officials from considering the effect of pesticides on endangered species, and there are multiple riders that could harm our nation’s forests. We encourage the House to remove provisions that undermine the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.
“House leadership should build on the Farm Bill’s bipartisan legacy of collaborative, cost-effective conservation success. Sodsaver—which prevents federal funds from unwittingly subsidizing the conversion of native prairies to cropland—should be expanded nationwide. Swampbuster—which prevents subsidies from going to producers who drain or fill wetlands—has been remarkably effective and should be kept strong in this bill. The House bill should also prevent lands that receive funding for wildlife easements from being degraded by mining or drilling.
“The National Wildlife Federation historically supports the Farm Bill and we hope to do so again. We encourage the House to work together on a clean bipartisan bill without cuts or riders.”
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