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Dingell Celebrates Bipartisan House Passage of Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2773, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, legislation introduced by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12), by a bipartisan vote of 231-190. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) will help promote and enhance our nation’s conservation efforts and ensure the long-term health of fish and wildlife throughout the country. United States Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) introduced the companion in the U.S. Senate. 

“Right now, the United States is facing an unprecedented biodiversity crisis,” said Congresswoman Dingell.  “We’ve already seen our nation’s beautiful monarch butterfly population plummet, and we’ve lost nearly 3 billion birds since 1970. Without a significant change in the way we finance conservation, more of the animals and wildlife we hold dear to our heart will become endangered. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is landmark legislation that takes long-overdue action to address this crisis by using innovative, on-the-ground collaboration that will protect our nation’s environmental heritage. We have a conservation, economic, and moral obligation to act in order to protect and recover America’s wildlife for future generations. Grateful to the broad, bipartisan coalition that has fought for this legislation, and I urge the Senate to act on this bill right away.” 

“Protecting wildlife is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. Healthy, thriving wildlife populations are one of our greatest defenses against the looming threat of climate change—they help protect shorelines from storm surges, make our forests more resilient against wildfires, and keep pests and invasive species in check,” said Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03). “Diverse wildlife is also critical to the country’s booming outdoor economy, as any hunter, angler, birder, or other wildlife watcher can tell you. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will make a huge difference in helping states, territories, and Tribes ramp up their wildlife protection efforts and I’m proud to vote ‘yes’ on this bill. I’m so grateful for the work my friend Representative Dingell has done to carry on the great legacy of her late husband and wildlife champion John Dingell and I look forward to seeing this bill make it to the president’s desk soon.”

“I’m so proud of the bipartisan leadership and widespread support that is moving the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act forward,” said Heinrich, member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “Passing RAWA into law will mean our grandchildren will be able to experience the same rich and abundant American wildlife—from bumblebees to bison—that we have been so lucky to grow up with. I am grateful to Representative Debbie Dingell for her leadership in steering the Recovering America's Wildlife Act through the House of Representatives and I look forward to continuing to work with my partner in the Senate, Senator Roy Blunt, as we work to pass this historic legislation with broad support.”

“Protecting habitats and wildlife is not only important to states like Missouri – with some of the best hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation in the country – it’s important to communities all across the nation,” said Blunt. “By encouraging states, territories, and Tribes to make significant contributions to voluntary conservation efforts, we can preserve our nation’s wildlife for future generations. I thank Congresswoman Dingell for her partnership in getting this legislation passed in the House and I look forward to continuing our efforts to get it to the president’s desk.”

RAWA is the largest, most significant investment in wildlife and habitat conservation in a generation, and it has the broad support of conservation and sportsmen’s leaders. The bill dedicates nearly $1.4 billion in support to the Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program for proactive efforts led by the states, territories, and Tribal nations to prevent vulnerable wildlife from becoming endangered.  

“America’s wildlife are in crisis, with more than 12,000 species at heightened risk of extinction if fail to act. The bipartisan passage of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act — the most important wildlife-conservation legislation in a half century — affirms that there is consensus across the political spectrum that we can, and we must, prevent extinctions from our backyards to the backcountry,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Representative Debbie Dingell has worked tirelessly on behalf of this bill for years, and this historic vote cements her legacy as a wildlife champion.”

“The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) extends our appreciation to Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Congresswoman Dingell for her unwavering commitment to sportsmen and women as demonstrated by her efforts to secure the House passage of her bill, Recovering America’s Wildlife Act,” said CSF President and CEO Jeff Crane. “This bipartisan bill will bolster the capacity of our nation’s wildlife managers to turn the corner on fish and wildlife conservation before more regulatory and burdensome measures are needed.”

“This positive vote in the House is a giant step forward for wildlife and a reaffirmation that conservation transcends party lines and politics,” said Tony Wasley, Director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “We sincerely thank Congresswoman Dingell for her outstanding leadership and thanks to all those supporting the advancement of the bill today on the floor. We look forward to working with everyone on both sides of the aisle and the Capitol to get this bill across the finish line as soon as possible so we can begin the work of proactive wildlife conservation and habitat protection at the scale that is needed.” 

Specifically, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will:

  • Fund conservation efforts for more than 12,000 species of wildlife and plants in need of assistance by providing $1.3 billion in dedicated annual funding for proactive, on-the-ground efforts in every state and territory.
  • Accelerate the recovery of 1,600 U.S. species already listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
  • Ensure wildlife recovery efforts will be guided by the Congressionally-mandated State Wildlife Action Plans, which identify specific strategies to restore the populations of species of greatest conservation need. 
  • Provide Tribal nations $97.5 million annually to fund proactive wildlife conservation efforts on roughly 140 million acres of land.
  • Include improvements to ensure funds are appropriately targeted to the areas of greatest need and facilitate additional investments in protecting at-risk plant species.

History of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

Dingell first introduced the bill in 2017 based on a recommendation from a panel of conservation and business leaders. The Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources, a group of national business and conservation leaders co-chaired by Bass Pro Shops founder John L. Morris and former Wyoming governor Dave Freudenthal, convened in 2015 to recommend a new mechanism to sustainably fund fish and wildlife conservation. In March 2016, the Panel recommended creating a $1.3 billion dedicated funding stream to support implementation of State Wildlife Action Plans in every state, territory, and the District of Columbia.

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