WASHINGTON – July 23, 2013 – The House Appropriations Committee’s 2014 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, released earlier today, doesn’t include funding for vital conservation programs, such as the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA).
“In the current fiscal climate, we understand that conservation programs must also receive scrutiny in the budget cutting process,” DU CEO Dale Hall said. “However, it is short sighted and unacceptable to completely zero out funding for conservation programs that are also economic drivers. NAWCA in particular is unique because it more than triples any investment by the federal government with non-federal funding through private partners.”
NAWCA has translated more than $1 billion in federal appropriations over the life of the program into nearly $3.5 billion in additional economic activity. These expenditures have created, on average, nearly 7,500 new jobs (e.g. construction workers, biologists, engineers) annually in the United States, generating more than $200 million in worker earnings each year. Every federal dollar provided by NAWCA must be matched by at least one dollar from non-federal sources.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Fund and state wildlife grants are among the other conservation programs not funded in the fiscal year 2014 bill.
“Wetlands protected and conserved by these programs do so much more than provide waterfowl and wildlife habitat. They lessen the effects of floods and hurricanes, prevent soil erosion and improve water quality,” said DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt. “They also provide opportunities for hunting, angling and other wildlife-dependent recreation that contributed more than $144.7 billion to the U.S. economy in 2011. Programs that provide such major returns on investment for our citizens and government should not be abandoned.”
The bill sets baseline funding for Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, Forest Service and other related agencies.
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