There are at least two important hearings on Capital Hill this week for those who love wildlife and wildlands.
At 10am eastern time on Wednesday February 15, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing entitled “Oversight: Modernization of the Endangered Species Act.” Information about the panel can be found here: https://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2017/2/oversight-modernization-of-the-endangered-species-act. We are watching this issue closely. Although bald eagles and peregrine falcons are no longer endangered, they were nearly extinct by the time the ESA was passed and benefited greatly from its protections. We welcome changes that strengthen the Act, especially given the overwhelming evidence for its success, but at least some of the suggested changes seem to be less about improvement and more about rollback. For more about the ESA, read this blog.
On Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee's environment subpanel will look at modernizing the environmental laws under its jurisdiction, including the Clean Air Act and the brownfields provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. Information about that panel can be found here: https://energycommerce.house.gov/hearings-and-votes/hearings/modernizing-environmental-laws-challenges-and-opportunities-expanding. Many species, not least of all humans, benefit from laws that protect air and water. We have come a long way since Lake Erie was dead, some rivers in the United States regularly caught fire, and smog was fatal. We welcome changes that strengthen environmental, but doubt the panel is truly interested in doing so.
If you follow us and are concerned about these issues, we encourage you to follow the American Bird Conservancy, which is deeply involved in protection for birds on all sorts of levels (including wind turbines, something we get a lot of questions about): https://abcbirds.org/. We also follow the Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Society, a non-profit hunting conservation organization that is deeply involved in expanding CRP and preserving public land: http://www.trcp.org/.