Even though inside the beltway politics are broken and dysfunctional it is still possible for a significant piece of legislation to receive strong bipartisan and bicameral support. Imagine that? Legislators, legislating.
In February, the Senate and House passed S. 47, The National Resources Management Act, which was the product of negotiations that the previous Congress began last year and that never stopped. As result, the Senate and House overwhelmingly passed the bill and the President is expected to sign it into law once it reaches his desk. The bill contains numerous provisions, including “The Wild Act” that the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Colin Sheldon discussed during The Ocean Project’s First Friday Brown Bag Webinar last December – click here for the link if you missed it.
Here are a few of the pro-conservation measures included in the bill:
- The Wild Act
- Multinational species conservation programs (which had expired in 2012)
- Adds tortoises and freshwater turtles to Marine Turtle Conservation Act
- Requires federal strategies to deal with invasive species
- Reauthorizes the Interior Department’s Partners in Wildlife program
- Designates four new National Monuments
- Makes adjustments and improvements to multiple existing units of the National Park System, National Forests, and Fish and Wildlife Refuges
- Permanently authorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund
- Designates 1.3 million acres of new wilderness areas in California, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah
- Reauthorizes the Neotropical Migratory Bird Treaty
- Codified two Obama Administration initiatives – Every Kid Outdoors and the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps – that both provide partnership opportunities for zoos and aquariums
- Click here for more if interested
This tells me that protecting America’s natural heritage can still unify our country at a time when little else can and should be seen as an opportunity with the 116th Congress in that protecting and conserving species and habitat is possible even in a tumultuous political environment.
The First Friday Brown Bag Webinar series is designed to help you better understand issues that can improve the health of our environment, including oceans and fisheries and other wildlife, and how you can help make conservation happen.
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The next webinar will be on Friday, April 5: Youth Activism for Conservation: Empowering young people to become ocean champions.