Wyoming roadway.
Elk crossing Wyoming roadway. © Mark Gocke


Transportation Bill Considers Natural Solutions to Address Climate Change

Lander, WY

For the first time ever, Congress has crafted a transportation bill that considers how natural solutions can be used to protect the nation’s infrastructure from the impacts of climate change such as severe storms and wildfire. It also make provisions for wildlife crossings on highways to prevent damage, death and injury due to collisions.

Today, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works committee passed a new transportation bill and sent it on to the full Senate.

The bill includes a definition of ‘natural infrastructure’ and allows for natural features such as wetlands or culvert enlargements to help protect vulnerable areas along with other ‘built’ infrastructure. And, it also contains a first-ever “climate title, which supports the development of much-needed infrastructure, such as charging stations, to advance the use of alternative fuel vehicles and help reduce this now dominant source of harmful climate emissions.

This use of the term “natural infrastructure” in Congressional legislation is truly historic, as is the acknowledgement of the threat that is posed by climate change. The bill is also a smart investment that recognizes that balancing the needs of the natural and built environments is a wise investment for future generations,” according to Richard Garrett, External Affairs Director for The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming.

One provision of the bill with particular importance to Wyoming is support for building wildlife crossings on highways to reduce the costs to people and wildlife from collisions with animals.

“We also want to thank Senator John Barrasso for his leadership in bringing this bill to completion in the committee, with the expectation that he will be a strong advocate for it’s passage by the full Senate,” added Garrett.

This bill also had the support of a broad spectrum of organizations representing not only conservation groups, but ranchers, hunters and anglers, energy producers and builders and contractors.

TNC urges a full Senate vote soon and that the House will begin advancing a bill quickly as well.

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 72 countries and territories: 38 by direct conservation impact and 34 through partners, 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.