Natural Resources Committee Advances Bills Tackling Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss by Protecting Endangered Species and Habitats

Washington D.C. – Today Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) led a Committee markup to advance nine pieces of legislation, including key Natural Resources measures to reverse President Trump’s efforts to gut the Endangered Species Act and to reduce climate change impacts on at-risk species.

Among the measures advanced today, the Committee approved H.R. 4348, Chair Grijalva’s bill repealing the misguided Endangered Species Act regulations the Trump administration issued last year. Under Trump’s rules, the administration can ignore long-term threats to wildlife from climate change during listing decisions and remove guaranteed protections to threatened species listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, essentially nullifying the protective value of a threatened listing.

The latest Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) reportfound that 1 in 8 species – one million species in total – are at risk of extinction. The report identified climate change as one of the greatest threats to biodiversity.

Grijalva’s bill, the PAW and FIN Act, has 98 House cosponsors and enjoys the support of a broad coalition of environmental organizations. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) sponsors S.2491, the Senate companion bill.

The Committee today also passed Rep. Matt Cartwright’s (D-Pa.) Safeguarding America's Future and Environment Act (H.R. 2748), which takes steps to combat our current biodiversity crisis; and Rep. Joe Cunningham’s Climate-Ready Fisheries Act (H.R. 4679), which commissions a study on how best to offer economic, social, and ecological support to fishery managers who need to adapt to climate change.

Habitat fragmentation makes it hard for many species to complete seasonal migrations, search for food, and adapt to climate change. The Committee addressed these issues by elevating wildlife corridors with the passage of: Rep. Don Beyer’s (D-Va.) Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act (H.R. 2795), which establishes national wildlife corridors to provide for the protection and restoration of certain native fish, wildlife, and plant species; and Rep. Ruben Gallego’s (D-Ariz.) Tribal Wildlife Corridors Act (H.R. 5179), which honors the federal trust responsibility to Indian Country by providing resources to manage wildlife corridors on Tribal land and coordinate management strategies with federal partners across jurisdictions.

Bill texts, amendments, amendments in the nature of a substitute, and vote counts can be found at the House of Representatives Committee Repository at http://bit.ly/38PrCzA

Markup action on the bills approved can viewed at http://bit.ly/2O9kxBY.


Bills Approved by the Committee 

H.R. 1049 (Rep. Tonko), To authorize a National Heritage Area Program, and for other purposes. “National Heritage Area Act of 2019.”

H.R. 1240 (Rep. Young), To preserve United States fishing heritage through a national program dedicated to training and assisting the next generation of commercial fishermen. “Young Fishermen's Development Act of 2019.”  

H.R. 2748 (Rep. Cartwright), To establish an integrated national approach to respond to ongoing and expected effects of extreme weather and climate change by protecting, managing, and conserving the fish, wildlife, and plants of the United States, and to maximize Government efficiency and reduce costs, in cooperation with State, local, and Tribal Governments and other entities, and for other purposes. “Safeguarding America's Future and Environment Act.” 

H.R. 2795 (Rep. Beyer), To establish National Wildlife Corridors to provide for the protection and restoration of certain native fish, wildlife, and plant species, and for other purposes. “Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act of 2019.” 

H.R. 2956 (Rep. Calvert), To provide for the establishment of the Western Riverside County Wildlife Refuge. 

H.R. 3399 (Rep. Harder), To amend the Nutria Eradication and Control Act of 2003 to include California in the program, and for other purposes. 

H.R. 4348 (Rep. Grijalva), To terminate certain rules issued by the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce relating to endangered and threatened species, and for other purposes. “Protect America's Wildlife and Fish In Need of Conservation Act of 2019.”

H.R. 4679 (Rep. Cunningham), To require the Comptroller General of the United States to submit to Congress a report examining efforts by the Regional Fishery Management Councils, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, and the National Marine Fisheries Service to prepare and adapt United States fishery management for the impacts of climate change, and for other purposes. “Climate-Ready Fisheries Act of 2019.” 

H.R. 5179 (Rep. Gallego), To require the Secretary of the Interior to establish Tribal Wildlife Corridors, and for other purposes. “Tribal Wildlife Corridors Act of 2019.”

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Monica Sanchez, (202) 225-6065