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SOTU: President Should Focus on Four Bipartisan, Commonsense Conservation Priorities

‘We Need Solutions as Big as the Problems We Face’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Wildlife Federation urged the president to focus on bipartisan, commonsense conservation priorities — which are all ripe for action in Congress — in his State of the Union Address this week. 

“The State of the Union is the president’s opportunity to focus on the shared challenges we face and the solutions that can bring all Americans together — even at this divisive moment,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Despite this administration’s continued rollback of environmental, public health and wildlife protections, leaders from across the political spectrum have shown they still believe we should address the wildlife crisis, the climate crisis and our growing disconnectedness from nature. 

“We need solutions as big as the problems we face. We urge the president to listen to the American people and Congress, and lend his support to the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, an infrastructure plan that reduces emissions and invests in resilience, full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act.”

Congress should prioritize and President Trump should sign into law:

 The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which will address the wildlife crisis and be the most significant piece of wildlife legislation since the Endangered Species Act passed in 1973. More than one-third of all wildlife species in the United States are at risk or vulnerable to extinction. 

Infrastructure investments that prepare us for climate change. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee have offered beneficial proposals. We need to ramp up deployment of electric vehicles and charging stations, battery storage and smart electricity grids and natural solutions like healthy wetlands and forests that provide community resilience, clean air and water, carbon storage and protection for wildlife and habitats. 

Full, permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. For more than five decades, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has created and supported parks, hiking and biking trails, waterfront access and wildlife habitat. The fund is entitled to receive $900 million a year from offshore oil revenues at no cost to taxpayers, but the fund has only received that full funding twice. Congress needs to fix this by voting for full and permanent funding.

The Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act will address the $19 billion backlog of deferred maintenance projects at national parks and other public lands by creating a $6.5 billion dollar fund, to be administered over five years. Funding deferred maintenance projects for our beloved parks and public lands is long overdue. Every year more than 500 million people visit our public lands to hike, kayak, camp, bird watch and much more. Crumbling roads and boardwalks, overgrown trails and deteriorating education centers pose safety threats and could ultimately prevent America’s families from being able to enjoy our spectacular parks, cultural treasures and wildlife heritage.

 

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More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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