EDITORIAL: RAWA House vote a victory

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Jun. 22—Last week's passage of the Recovering America's Wildlife Act in the U.S. House was a milestone victory for conservation.

But more work is needed.

Both U.S. Reps. Billy Long and Vicky Hartzler, whose districts include Southwest Missouri, were co-sponsors of the bill in the House, but had concerns with last-minute amendments. Let's hope they can avoid that snag in the Senate, where there appears to be bipartisan support.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, by the way, deserves a lot of credit if this passes, as he has been one of the driving forces behind RAWA from the launch.

Tyler Schwartze, executive director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri, said in a statement after the House vote: "Recovering America's Wildlife Act is the most significant wildlife conservation bill in the last half-century. ... Wildlife and their habitats in Missouri and across the country are in crisis, and this bold, bipartisan bill will tackle the problem at scale without new taxes or regulation."

Right now, nearly 700 animals and plants — everything from mussels to grassland birds and from predators to pollinators — are in steep decline and have been identified as species of conservation concern, meaning, they are at "heightened risk of extinction and need our help," according to Schwartz.

"It's part of a more significant national trend in which more than one-third of America's wildlife is edging towards extinction."

About 40% of the nearly 100 previously unknown species or subspecies of animals that Lewis and Clark encountered "now have a state- or federal-level designation indicating that active protection or conservation concern is warranted," wrote the late Paul Johnsgard, one of the country's leading experts. "Of these, 13 species are now classified as nationally endangered."

In fact, some of what the expedition saw is now extinct.

Nationwide, there are an estimated 12,000 species that need help — that are on the same downward path.

Recovering America's Wildlife Act is big step in the right direction. It will dedicate $1.4 billion annually nationwide — more than $20 million for Missouri — to local and voluntary efforts to protect species of conservation concern. Blunt previously said it "will be among the largest, most significant investments in wildlife and habitat conservation."

It is supported by more than 1,500 organizations representing state fish and wildlife agencies, sportsmen and women, conservation groups, environmental activists, and industry associations and businesses.

We are optimistic it will pass the Senate and be signed by President Joe Biden.