Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today joined his colleagues in introducing a bill to protect the country’s wildlife and natural resources from climate change.
Building on existing federal, state, and local efforts, the Safeguarding America’s Future and Environment (SAFE) Act would establish an integrated national approach to ongoing and expected effects of extreme weather and climate change.
“Right now in Oregon we’re feeling the undeniable impact of climate change — everything from catastrophic wildfires to changing snowmelt and drought to ocean acidification,” Wyden said. “Climate change threatens the well-being of millions of families and businesses across the country, which is why the federal government must start work now on a comprehensive national plan to help communities adapt to the harsh realities of climate change.”
The SAFE Act would require federal natural resource agencies to form an interagency working group to plan and implement a long-term national climate change adaptation strategy based on the best available science. State, local, and tribal governments, as well as nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, and private sector representatives would be called upon to lend their expertise to the working group. The legislation would require agencies to work together to identify and prioritize specific conservation and management strategies and actions to respond to extreme weather and climate change. It would also encourage the development of state-specific adaptation plans.
This national strategy would guide federal adaptation plans and reduce redundancy and costs. The SAFE Act would also create the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, to develop and compile scientific information on climate variability.
The legislation has been endorsed by American Forests, American Rivers, Conservation Northwest, Defenders of Wildlife, Earth Justice, the Endangered Species Coalition, the National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, the National Parks Conservation Association, the Outdoor Alliance, Restore America’s Estuaries, Rocky Mountain Wild, the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, the Trust for Public Land, the Wilderness Society, the Wildlife Society, Wildlands Network, Wildlife Conservation Society, Winter Wildlands Alliance and the World Wildlife Fund.
Cosponsors of the bill include Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Tom Carper, D-Del., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Reps. Nanette Barragán, D-Calif., Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., Gerry Connolly, D-Va., Keith Ellison, D-Minn., Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., Jared Huffman, D-Calif., Ro Khanna, D-Calif., Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., Mark Pocan, D-Wis., Jared Polis, D-Colo., Mike Quigley, D-Ill., Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., Nikki Tsongas, D-Mass., Marc Veasey, D-Texas, and Tim Walz, D-Minn.