Citizen’s Corner: Jennifer Jensen’s Favorite Bills This Week—Help for Petrels, and Good News for the Rogue River!
Three of President Trump’s environmentally-related decisions show that his environmental score card is, like that of most Presidents, really mixed. Our natural world, the animals around us, and our own bodies, are experiencing assaults on unprecedented levels, and the effects upon our ecosystems from modern hubris, continue to be devastating. But not all of the political news is dire.
One example of President Trump’s more positive environmental choices is the recent National Resources Protection Act, or S.47. This is a bipartisan Congressional effort, which added 375,000 newly protected wilderness acres in Oregon, Washington State, California and Alaska. Added to this is the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (it’s a bundled bill) which protects additional areas of Oregon’s precious Rogue River, with its tributary the Cgrtco; as well as thirty thousand acres of old growth forest, 250 miles of waterways along Oregon’s coast, two million acres of wilderness across the Sierra Nevada, and more. Taken together, these bipartisan bills, which President Trump signed into law, show a very positive direction.
Another Presidential initiative, though, is destructive for the environment. President Trump’s ‘wall’ may possibly aid in stopping the flow of immigrants over the border; but at an environmental cost: sensitive ecosystems, indeed all plants and animals in the area, will be negatively affected by the erection of this 30-foot barrier: ‘“This wall will destroy New Mexico’s incredible public lands and hurt the local economy, which relies on the outdoor industry. And it could deal a death blow to Mexican gray wolves in the U.S.,”’ said Laiken Jordahl, borderlands campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity.
The National Audubon Society weighed in as well on the environmental impacts of the budget proposal. ‘Smart investments,’ says the group, in the environment, are needed. This respected environmental group also gives us a long list of reasons why President Trump’s budget proposal is bad for birds, and for the natural world in general. The National Audubon Society is “rejecting administration budget proposals that would devastate the protections and places that both birds and people need,” said Sarah Greenberger, National Audubon Society’s senior vice president of conservation policy.
But the National Audubon Society isn’t just pointing out what’s wrong with the current budget proposal. They also give us concrete action steps: something to do on our part so we can help out.
They point out that members of Congress have introduced two bipartisan bills that “will help protect and conserve birds across the country and around the globe.” The Bird-Safe Buildings Act (H.R. 919) would advance bird-friendly practices on federal buildings to help reduce bird collisions, which are one of the largest causes of bird mortality. You can ask your Member of Congress to support this legislation by clicking here.
Another great bird-friendly bill, the Albatross and Petrel Conservation Act (H.R. 1305), will expand international cooperation to help save these “charismatic seabirds” by increasing cooperation to protect albatrosses and petrels; the bill would enable the U.S. to join and strengthen an important international agreement that helps address threats to these species, including growing plastic pollution in our oceans, as well as dealing with unsustainable (hookline) fishing practices that cause up to 100,000 albatross deaths each year. Click here if you want to help albatrosses and petrels thrive over our beautiful oceans.
The Bird-Safe Buildings Act is in the first stage of the legislative process. It was introduced into Congress on January 30, 2019. It will typically be considered by committee next before it is possibly sent on to the House, and after that to the Senate as a whole.
So you can do more than mourn threats to our wildfowl and our environment! Use the BillCam, call your Representative and save some beautiful wildlife.