In a year that has already seen its fair share of attempts to reform the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), another proposal has made its way into the House of Representatives. Representatives Don Young (R-Alaska) and Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan) introduced the “Recovering America’s Wildlife Act” (H.R. 5650) on July 7, 2016. The bill is based on a plan unveiled by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources four months ago.
H.R. 5650 would direct approximately $1.3 billion each year from federal energy and mineral development revenues into state-led conservation efforts. The bill’s two sponsors hope that the funding, if passed, will assist states in implementing existing wildlife action and recovery plans meant to conserve the 12,000 species currently at the greatest risk of extinction. It is also hoped that the funding will allow for public access to additional open spaces. The bill itself describes the proposed action as making “funds available for management of fish and wildlife species of greatest conservation need as determined by State fish and wildlife agencies.” The bill has been referred to the House Natural Resources Committee for review.
While many commentators do not expect H.R. 5650 to pass either the House or the Senate, it may trigger discussions of alternate means of funding species conservation and management with greater State-level involvement.