President's View: Uniting Americans for Wildlife
Conservation can be a common ground for bipartisan collaboration
Collin O’Mara, NWF President and Chief Executive Officer
NWF President Collin O’Mara joins Senator Stabenow, Senator Peters, Representative Kildee, Flint Mayor Weaver and local leaders to urge Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to help Flint, Michigan, restore safe water.
NOW THAT THE MOST RAUCOUS ELECTIONS IN RECENT MEMORY ARE OVER, Americans are hoping the parties can work together and find common ground. Wildlife conservation may be the best opportunity for such bipartisan action.
As former New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia once said, “There is no Democratic or Republican way of cleaning the streets.” We at the National Wildlife Federation believe the same about recovering America’s wildlife.
Public polls show bipartisan support for restoring natural resources. The joy that comes from breathing fresh air in a forest or fishing on a clean lake knows no partisan boundaries. Indeed, recent presidential candidates agreed that it is important to protect public lands and expand access to outdoor recreation. Our new president and Congress could likewise secure bipartisan consensus around the following:
• Wildlife recovery. More than 8,000 species across the nation are vulnerable. By supporting wildlife conservation, we can save thousands of species and avoid expensive “emergency room” recovery measures.
• Ethanol. We’ve lost millions of acres of grasslands, wetlands and forests and added nutrient pollution to waterways because of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which mandates corn ethanol in transportation fuels. We need to reduce the ethanol mandate and restore the habitat losses that have devastated populations of pollinators, birds and other wildlife.
• Forestry. We’re losing millions of acres of national forest every year to out-of-control wildfires that are burning hotter, larger and longer than ever before. We must prioritize restoration of this critical habitat to improve forest health and reduce wildfire risk.
• Water. Millions of Americans do not have access to safe water. By restoring waterways and investing in infrastructure, we can ensure that no child suffers from unhealthy water.
• Storm preparedness. Millions of Americans are at greater risk of flooding because government subsidizes development along rivers and coasts. We must reduce subsidies in these environmentally sensitive areas and restore wetlands and dunes that support wildlife and protect communities from storms.
• Abandoned mines. More than 500,000 abandoned coal and hardrock mine sites need to be remediated, including some of the most important wildlife habitat in the nation. We must clean up these sites and restore the habitat.
With your support, we are working hard to remove the politics from these issues and make them higher priorities. Please join us as we work to make 2017 a banner year for wildlife!
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