Bill to Establish Climate Change Strategy Reintroduced

By Colleen Hartel

Bird Image Credit: Joel Trick, USFWS

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA) reintroduced the Safeguarding America’s Future and Environment (SAFE) Act last week.

H.R.2804 and S.1601 would require federal natural resource agencies, coordinating with state, local, and tribal governments, to develop and implement climate change adaptation strategies. The bill would establish a Climate Adaptation Strategy Working Group, composed of heads of federal agencies and representatives of states and tribes, to revise the national climate change adaptation strategy.

The bills also formally authorize the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, which will assess scientific information and develop tools, strategies, and techniques to support agencies in implementing adaptation strategies. The bill encourages states to develop state-specific adaptation plans, which allows the center to enter into cooperative agreements with and provide grants to states agencies, universities, and research institutions.

Interagency cooperation and building on existing agency efforts will ensure a national response to climate change, make certain vulnerable fish and wildlife habitats and populations are better adapted to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather.

The Wildlife Society has been supportive of the SAFE Act’s introduction in previous sessions of Congress and is among the many organizations to endorse the legislation. Currently, the bills have been assigned to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and the House Natural Resources Committee for review.

Source: Rep. Cartwright Press Release (June 17, 2015)

Colleen Hartel is a policy intern at The Wildlife Society as part of the Government Affairs & Partnership program.

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