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Champions for Biodiversity Want Biden Administration to Do More


Monday, May 23, 2022   

Land-use changes, pollution, and climate change all contribute to declining biodiversity. Now a broad group of U.S. lawmakers wants the Biden administration to develop a robust plan to reverse the trend.

Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Bernalillo, is one of 350 state lawmakers from around the country who signed a letter calling on the Biden administration to create a national biodiversity strategy to protect the country's dwindling variety of animals and plants.

Stewart said human activities causing the die-off of pollinators such as bees should not be allowed to continue.

"We are killing them by our use of neonicotinoids, which stay in the water and the dirt and in plants for hundreds of years," Stewart pointed out.

Environment New Mexico said bees pollinate approximately 100 crops that provide 90% of most of the world's food. The letter was coordinated by the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. It noted 193 countries have developed forms of a national biodiversity strategy.

Robert Dewey, vice president of government relations and external affairs for Defenders of Wildlife, among a host of organizations and scientists supporting the national plan, said leading scientists have found without intervention, up to one million species could become extinct in the coming decades.

"In the U.S., the National Audubon Society estimates three billion birds have disappeared since 1970. And just last fall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the extinction of 23 more species."

During the 2022 legislative session, Stewart introduced Senate Joint Memorial 2 to require federal agencies devise a strategy to restore imperiled species. She fears the risk of disease for humans will increase, if biodiversity is not addressed.

"Clear evidence that it's human activities," Stewart contended. "We're encroaching upon on wild animals and that is going to produce more pandemics."

Stewart acknowledged her bill did not pass, but she plans to introduce similar legislation in 2023.

Disclosure: Defenders of Wildlife contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Energy Policy, and Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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