The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, legislation that would provide $1.4 billion a year to states and tribes for threatened and endangered wildlife programs.
The 231-190 vote included yeses from 215 Democrats and 16 Republicans.
The action, the proposal’s most advanced since it was introduced by a Blue Ribbon Panel in 2016, has been praised by dozens of conservation and environmental groups.
Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, called RAWA “the most important wildlife conservation legislation in half a century”.
Bipartisan support in the House says there is “consensus across the political spectrum that we can and must prevent extinctions from our backyards to backyards,” O’Mara said.
Proponents of the bill cite its prescription of proactive on-the-ground projects to implement state wildlife action plans and projections it would create more than 30,000 jobs and spur $93 billion in total economic activity.
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RAWA’s fate now rests with the Senate, which in April kicked him out of the committee. The bill has 36 bipartisan sponsors and cosponsors in the Senate, including the Sens sponsors. Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico) and Roy Blunt (R-Missouri).
However, questions remain over the dollars.
The House version would fund RAWA with general tax revenue from the Treasury.
But a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office reported on April 27 by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee found that RAWA would increase the federal deficit by $14.1 billion from 2022 to 2032.
Tom Cors, director of North American policy and government relations at The Nature Conservancy, said it’s likely RAWA will need a “pay for” to be approved by the Senate.
One might be handy, though.
More than a dozen conservation organizations and land trusts, including The Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, and The Conservation Fund, along with the IRS and the Department of Justice, are calling on Congress to pass the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act (S. 2256 /HR 4164).
The bill would end fraudulent and syndicated conservation easements.
According to IRS data, bad actors claimed $36 billion in unwarranted charitable deductions from 2010 to 2018, including $9.2 billion for 296 transactions in 2018 alone.
This contrasts with the 2,000 to 2,500 conservation donations made each year for genuinely charitable purposes, resulting in about $1 billion in claimed deductions each year, according to the Land Trust Alliance.
Passing the Easement Integrity Bill would protect the tax-paying public while ensuring the land conservation incentive remains available to landowners acting with genuine charitable intent, the Alliance said in a statement. .
The bill would prohibit charitable deductions where a profit is made in a short time from the donation of a conservation easement.
Eliminating fraudulent tax breaks could provide the Treasury with the $14.1 billion that RAWA is expected to cost over the next decade.
Cors said working to pass both RAWA and the Easements Integrity Bill made sense.
“By pairing these laws, we could have the necessary funding for wildlife programs and solve a significant and persistent problem with conservation easements,” Cors said.
Efforts to advance both bills will intensify over the summer, Cors said.
In its RAWA vote, Badger’s state House delegation was split along party lines. All Democrats (Representatives Ron Kind, Gwen Moore and Mark Pocan) voted in favor of the bill while all Republicans (Representatives Scott Fitzgerald, Mike Gallagher, Glenn Grothman, Bryan Steil and Tom Tiffany) supported it. opposites.
Depopulated deer farm
The Department of Agriculture, Commerce and Consumer Protection released information on Friday about the May 18 depopulation at a Langlade County deer farm infected with the chronic wasting disease.
The action was reported on May 27 by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The cull removed 47 deer from Van Ooyen Whitetails in Antigo. The fatal neurological disease was detected at the captive facility last August and the herd was under quarantine.
Payment of compensation to Van Ooyen will be made from federal funds, according to the DATCP. The amount was not disclosed. Federal compensation is based on 95% of appraised value and must not exceed $3,000 per animal.
The farm is prohibited from keeping deer or other cervids for five years and during that time must maintain fencing and submit to inspections.
According to DATCP records, nineteen other CWD-positive deer farms remain open in Wisconsin.