PNS Daily Newscast - January 22, 2018 

The funding stumble in Congress deepens the crisis for health centers; also on our nationwide rundown; we will let you know about concerns over possible "gifts" to payday lenders; and a new survey provides alarming numbers about young people and homelessness.

Daily Newscasts

CO Wildlife Conservation Funding at Stake in New Bill

The golden eagle has been identified as one of many iconic wildlife species in need of greater protections in Colorado. (Pixabay)
The golden eagle has been identified as one of many iconic wildlife species in need of greater protections in Colorado. (Pixabay)
December 19, 2017

DENVER – A bipartisan bill introduced last week in the U.S. House would tap existing revenues from energy development on public lands to finance state plans to keep wildlife populations healthy and off the endangered species list.

State fish and wildlife agencies estimate nearly 12,000 species are currently at risk across the country.

Suzanne O'Neill, executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation, says investing up front in conservation is the most cost-effective way to protect Colorado's wildlife.

"Colorado has a state wildlife action plan, and this will go a long way to funding the really necessary efforts to prevent many species from winding up as threatened and endangered," she explains.

O'Neill notes the number of species petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act has increased by a thousand percent in less than a decade. She says if the measure passes, Colorado could see an increase in conservation funds from $1 million to nearly $30 million annually, without requiring new taxes.

Collin O'Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, points to Monarch butterfly populations, down 90 percent compared with 15 years ago - along with a 50-percent loss of native bee and honeybee populations - as big reasons to bolster conservation efforts.

O'Mara warns the impacts on agriculture if pollinator populations collapse can't be overstated since one out of every three bites of food we eat requires pollination.

"With so many things that have big price tags, as they're debating tax cuts and increases in defense spending, it's just making the case that this is worth investing in," she adds. "So far, we're in the early stages, but there's been good bipartisan support on both sides saying, 'This is a better solution than the status quo.'"

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO