North Carolina U.S. Sen. Ted Budd has joined the state’s other U.S. Senator, Thom Tillis, in cosponsoring bipartisan wildlife conservation legislation, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.
The bill would dedicate $1.4 billion annually to local efforts to help at-risk wildlife species.
“North Carolinians can be extremely proud that our senators are once again among the first to champion this bill, which is the most important piece of wildlife legislation in half a century,” said Tim Gestwicki, CEO of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation. “Wildlife are in crisis across the country, and this bold, bipartisan bill will tackle the problem at the scale that is needed, without raising taxes or creating new regulations.”
In addition to annually funding for broad conservation efforts, the bill would also direct $25.4 million to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to implement is wildlife action plan, which identifies 451 priority species, including the freshwater mussel, hellbender and little blue heron.
“Saving the thousands of at-risk wildlife species will require bold, bipartisan leadership,” Gestwicki said. “We are so grateful to Senators Budd and Tillis for leading the way on the historic Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. This bill will have an immediate impact – saving species, creating jobs and protecting our way of life in North Carolina and all across the country.”
The senators sponsored the bill last Session, too. While it cleared committee, it never received a floor vote despite having 47 bipartisan cosponsors.
The legislation would also provide $97.5 million for federally recognized tribal nations to share, including North Carolina’s Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Those funds would be used for wildlife conservation on lands the tribal nations manage.
“The consistent, predictable funding from this bill would be a game-changer,” said Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Conservation Outreach Coordinator Desirae Kissel. “It would allow us to move much more swiftly as we work to restore rivers and streams on our lands that host an incredible array of species from eastern hellbenders to freshwater mussels. Restoring these waters for wildlife will also improve quality downstream. We thank Senators Tillis and Budd for their efforts on behalf of this bill.”