President Should Focus on Infrastructure, Resilience, and Wildlife-Friendly Border Security in State of the Union

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In his State of the Union, the National Wildlife Federation urges the President to outline an affirmative agenda to address the greatest challenges facing our nation, including rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, restoring degraded natural systems and vulnerable wildlife populations, and confronting the massive devastation caused by last year’s extreme weather events and wildfires. The Federation has also urged the President and Congressional negotiators to pursue wildlife-friendly solutions for border security that will cause less harm than a continuous, impermeable border wall. The president’s address comes as House and Senate lawmakers are working to head off another destructive government shutdown in 10 days.

“We urge the President to use the State of the Union to focus on areas where meaningful bipartisan progress is possible to confront some of the greatest challenges facing our nation,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Following a year when Americans and wildlife experienced cascading damage from wildfires, hurricanes, typhoons, and inland flooding – exacerbated by crumbling infrastructure and degraded natural systems that would otherwise lessen the impacts – it will require a true bipartisan effort to rebuild a stronger and more resilient America. Focusing on infrastructure and resilience presents the greatest opportunity for finding elusive common ground.

“We also urge the President to support wildlife-friendly border security solutions that avoid adverse impacts to vulnerable species and keep their borderlands habitat. At a time when many species of wildlife across America are in crisis, the proposed impermeable, continuous wall along the southern border would further disrupt wildlife migration, bisect habitat for imperiled species, and undermine the work communities have been doing for decades to protect these areas. We urge Congress to pursue innovative solutions that protect all of us, rather than barriers that divide natural systems that sustain our economy.”

As a predicate for a national conversation on climate action and resilience, the House Natural Resources Committee will hear from Governors, scientists and advocates tomorrow on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce vulnerabilities of communities to extreme weather. The Committee is collecting climate change stories, with America’s communities, natural resources and economic well-being on the line.

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