Sunday, May 20, 2007

Global Warming Wildlife Survival bill introduced in Congress

Bill Calls for a Coordinated National Strategy to Conserve Wildlife in the Face of Global Warming

Washington, DC -- Defenders of Wildlife today hailed the introduction of the Global Warming Wildlife Survival Act, a bill calling for a national strategy to conserve wildlife in the midst of global warming.

"Today's introduction of a wildlife survival bill by Representatives Norm Dicks (D-WA), Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Jim Saxton (R-NJ) is a first of its kind. It offers definitive steps we can take to address the unique challenges wildlife face as global warming alters habitat, breeding patterns, food availability and other vital wildlife needs," said Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife. "This bill calls for a coordinated, national approach to ensure that the impacts of global warming on wildlife are effectively addressed by local, state and federal wildlife managers."

The bill, the Global Warming Wildlife Survival Act, has four main elements:

* A Congressional declaration recognizing that global warming is having profound impacts on wildlife and its habitat, and committing the federal government, in cooperation with state, tribal and local governments and other concerned organizations, to use all practicable means to assist wildlife in adapting to and surviving the effects of global warming.
* A national strategy for assisting wildlife impacted by global warming developed by the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce, states, tribes, local governments, conservation organizations and scientists, and coordinated with existing wildlife conservation plans. The national strategy identifies specific goals and methods to protect, acquire and restore wildlife habitat in order to build resilience to global warming, and provide habitat linkages to facilitate wildlife movements in response to global warming. The National Strategy would also protect natural communities most vulnerable to global warming, and restore and protect ecological processes that sustain wildlife populations.
* Improved science capacity for federal agencies to respond to global warming, including a National Global Warming and Wildlife Science Center in the U.S. Geological Survey and enhanced science capacity in federal land management and wildlife agencies.
* Federal funding for implementation of the national strategy and state and tribal actions to enhance wildlife resilience to global warming. The bill allocates federal funding to federal land management agencies, and federally-funded and implemented fish and wildlife programs. It would also provide funding to states and tribes for programs and actions to address the impacts of global warming on wildlife pursuant to state wildlife action plans.

"Representative Dicks, Inslee and Saxton's legislation will go far in protecting wildlife for future generations," stated Schlickeisen. "It is imperative that Congress act immediately to assist wildlife in adapting to and surviving the threat of global warming."

The Global Warming Wildlife Survival Act complements efforts now underway in Congress to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which is essential to combating and ultimately halting global warming and the threat it poses to wildlife.

"Even with the adoption of these limits, wildlife will continue to feel the effects of global warming over the coming decades because of the greenhouse gas pollution already released into the atmosphere," noted Schlickeisen. "This bill gives federal, state, and local resources managers the tools they need to help wildlife navigate this difficult bottleneck so that wildlife will survive to reap the benefits from greenhouse gas emissions reductions."

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