NC Senators Sponsor Bipartisan Wildlife Protection Bill
Monday, September 27, 2021
RALEIGH, N.C. - A bipartisan bill to protect wildlife species before they're imperiled has gained the support of North Carolina's senators. It's the first state to have both senators sign on, along with eight other senators.
The Recovering America's Wildlife Act would direct $1.4 billion to state and local agencies to prevent species from becoming endangered. It would direct about $24 million to North Carolina.
Tim Gestwicki, CEO of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, called it the "most historic piece of wildlife conservation legislation in the past half-century."
"We are absolutely over-the-moon delighted that both of our senators have joined as sponsors, Senator Burr and Senator Tillis," said Gestwicki, "demonstrating North Carolina leads the way once again."
The House version has six cosponsors from North Carolina, including Republicans and Democrats.
Gestwicki said the bill would help almost 500 species of concern in the state. They include the Carolina northern flying squirrel, Appalachian cottontail and zigzag salamander.
Collin O'Mara, president and CEO the National Wildlife Federation, said it's a critical time for legislation like this, with more than one third of all wildlife species at heightened risk of extinction across the country.
O'Mara said he believes Tar Heel State support in Congress could be critical for the bill's chances.
"When this bill passes," said O'Mara, "the North Carolina stamp of approval will be one of the reasons why it gets to the president's desk."
O'Mara said it's heartening to see bipartisan support for this measure.
"We often joke that there's no such thing as a Republican trout or a Democratic deer," said O'Mara. "And this is a moment that's showing that wildlife conservation, and conservation more broadly, can still truly be one of the bipartisan issues in this Congress."
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