TNC Testimony on Priorities for Upcoming Federal Spending
Funding requests include full funding for Land and Water Conservation Fund, plus investments in habitat, wildlife conservation, forest resilience
The U.S. House of Representatives’ Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing Thursday, Feb. 6, seeking funding recommendations for the fiscal year 2021 federal budget.
Kameran Onley, The Nature Conservancy’s director of U.S. government relations, testified on the need to continue strong federal investment in conservation, including fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The fund “has strong bipartisan support, and the Conservancy appreciates Congress’ commitment to funding important on-the-ground conservation and recreation projects across the country,” said Onley. “The Conservancy supports full funding at $900 million in discretionary appropriations for fiscal year 2021 and looks forward to working with Congress to find a permanent funding solution for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”
She also asked the subcommittee to support funding for habitat and wildlife conservation initiatives like the Cooperative Endangered Species Fund and State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program, as well as landscape-focused efforts for species like the greater sage grouse.
“These and other investments are essential to ensuring strategic actions to prevent species from being listed as threatened or endangered,” said Onley.
She closed by noting the need for continued investment in efforts to address wildfires, noting that while Congress took major steps toward stabilizing the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and the Department of the Interior’s budgets with the 2018 “fire fix,” there is still more work to be done.
“The fire fix will not be fully successful without substantial reinvestments in programs that would increase forest resilience,” said Onley. “Strategic, proactive hazardous fuels and restoration treatments have proven to be safe and cost-effective strategies for reducing risks and leaving forests in a more natural condition resilient to wildfires.”
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.