Wildlife, Climate Change and the American Clean Energy Act
In June, we offered up some information about the Waxman-Markey Climate Change Bill - aka. the American Clean Energy and Security Act, HR 2454. As we stated in that original post, our hope was to make our readers aware of the valuable protections the bill included for wildlife corridors. Our on-going environmental campaign, Freedom to Roam, is focused on exactly that: preserving critical migration corridors so wildlife can have freedom to roam. The ability to migrate freely is key to the survival for much of our country's wildlife.
The original post touched off quite a debate, and gave rise to questions about our support of Waxman-Markey. Our Environmental Editor is here with some responses to those questions and an update about where we are in our fight for Freedom to Roam.
[Photo: From The Wilderness Society website, A pika, which is a species threatened by global warming, in the wild. Photo by William C. Gladish]
We have a particular interest in the provisions in HR 2454 supporting wildlife corridors and protection of migratory routes for wildlife. Specifically:
- The Natural Resources Climate Change Adaptation Fund, which will provide additional money for numerous state and federal conservation programs to assist fish and wildlife in adapting to the effects of climate change.
- The National Wildlife Habitat and Corridors Information Program, which establishes a new program in the Department of the Interior to support states' and tribes' efforts to understand and map fish and wildlife habitat migration corridors, and to expand the use of computer database tools for wildlife management.
- Land and Water Conservation Fund, which protects properties around the country that are important to fish and wildlife.
The United States is home to many species of wildlife that depend on wide open spaces for migration. The ability to move unimpeded across the landscape is essential to the conservation of pronghorn, salmon, elk, migratory birds, ocelot, sage grouse, and many other animals. The Western Governors' Association, state and federal agencies, conservation groups, sportsmen, ranchers, and many others recognize the importance of protecting these vital wildlife corridors, especially because of the impending problems caused by climate change.
HR 2454 passed the House, as many of you know. The Senate is likely to take up a version this fall.
We urge our readers to look at the Environmental Protection Agency's analysis of HR 2454's cost to consumers: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/economics/economicanalyses.html#hr2452
Also, take a look at the Union of Concerned Scientists for information on climate change.