National Wildlife Federation’s Collin O’Mara Calls for Urgent Investments in Natural Infrastructure to Tackle Climate Crisis, Protect Communities, Benefit Wildlife

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a testimony to the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, National Wildlife Federation President and CEO Collin O’Mara urged Congress to invest in natural infrastructure — such as forests and headwaters, coastal dunes and wetlands — as a proven strategy to save lives, protect homes and save taxpayer dollars. O’Mara’s testimony, delivered as part of a hearing on “America’s Natural Solutions: The Climate Benefits of Investing in Healthy Ecosystems,” also highlighted the environmental justice and conservation benefits of investing in wildlife habitat for people and wildlife alike. 

“[Natural] systems can mean the difference between life and death, homes still standing or communities that are washed away, life that’s carrying on or lives upended. … These natural solutions present a huge opportunity,” O’Mara said. “Investing in natural infrastructure allows us to center the health and safety of people, as we’re also advancing our climate, conservation and economic goals.”

O’Mara also pointed out, investments in natural infrastructure must take into consideration longstanding environmental justice issues and build off the progress made through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Great American Outdoors Act, the American Conservation Enhancement Act and other legislation.

“We can and must build on these investments — and do so in ways that leave no community behind and ensure that communities of color and frontline communities are never an afterthought ever again,” O’Mara told the committee. 

In his testimony, O’Mara urged congress to invest in natural solutions, including: 

  • Updating its CBO scoring to reflect cost savings from resilience investments. 
  • Replicating the success of the 45Q tax credit for carbon capture, management and utilization with a new credit for natural climate solutions. 
  • Prioritizing disaster resilience efforts at the Army Corps 
  • Continuing to invest in regional restoration programs, which are already making a difference in critical landscapes and essential wildlife habitats, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Chesapeake Bay Program, the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program, the National Estuary Programs, and programs focused on coastal Louisiana and the Everglades
  • Passing the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which will prevent extinctions and help states, Tribes and territories restore natural systems that can and will provide critical resilience services for communities.

You can watch the full hearing and testimony here




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