Reps. Huffman & Neguse Urge Adoption of National Biodiversity Strategy

March 03, 2023

Washington D.C.—Today, Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife, and Fisheries, and Congressman Joe Neguse, Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Federal Lands, reintroduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives calling for a national biodiversity strategy. 

As the United States and much of the global community continue to face an unprecedented decline in biodiversity, the lawmakers' call to action urges a national commitment to addressing the biodiversity crisis—best developed through an interagency process announced by the president in an Executive Order. The Strategy process would encourage agencies to identify and pursue a full range of actions within existing laws and policies and encourage consideration of new ones. It would also promote accountability and progress in addressing the biodiversity crisis through a new quadrennial assessment.

“From pollution to ecosystem degradation and emissions-fueled climate change, reckless human activity is driving a rapid decline in biodiversity. This is not just a crisis for ecosystems and wildlife, but for the well-being of our communities and planet as a whole,” said Rep. Huffman. “We need a strategy that encompasses all levels of government so we can preserve a future that is rich in biodiversity, and our resolution brings solutions to the table to make the U.S. a leader in addressing this problem worldwide.” 

“Today, we are calling for a whole-of-government approach to tackle the present threat of declining biodiversity–not just in our country–but across the planet, as we work to address the damage of ecosystems, increased pollution, and the acceleration of climate change,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “It’s time we meet the moment, and build off of recent progress made in the fight against the climate crisis to finally address this pervasive issue—and that’s exactly what the adoption of a National Biodiversity Strategy will do.”

Climate change and biodiversity loss are heavily impacted by human activity, leading to mutual reinforcement. Recent scientific studies continue to confirm that human-driven activity damages vital Earth ecosystems, natural processes, and increases pollution of land, air, and water. The decline of biodiversity disproportionately impacts indigenous and other communities that rely on nature for essential services. 

“To address the escalating biodiversity crisis, the United States needs a bold and visionary plan that makes tackling the loss of nature a top priority at the local, state and federal level,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president, and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife. “As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, it is essential for President Biden to act to protect our nation’s invaluable wildlife and the ecosystems we all depend on.” 

The resolution lays out key areas that a national biodiversity strategy should include direction on, including: 

  • Achieving a national goal of protecting at least 30% of United States lands and water to conserve biodiversity and address climate change by 2030; 
  • Affirming the need to protect threatened, endangered, and at-risk species from further extinction; 
  • Climate adaptation and mitigation strategies for biodiversity; 
  • Joining and leading international agreements to combat climate change, such as the Paris Agreement; 
  • Establishing climate corridors for conservation of species affected by climate change 
  • The rapid build-out of renewable energy; 
  • Reviewing existing, laws and programs that are relevant to addressing threats of biodiversity; 
  • Advancing conservation in coordination with State and Tribal governments; 
  • Incorporating indigenous knowledge; 
  • Means to ensure equitable access to nature; and 
  • Establishing regular monitoring, reporting, research and development and adequate funding for conservation efforts.

The resolution is endorsed by Defenders of Wildlife and the creation of a National Biodiversity Strategy is supported by over 120 organizations. In the 117th Congress, the endorsing organizations sent the following letter of support, read here

Congressman Neguse has been a proactive leader in the fight against the climate crisis, working to conserve public lands and tackle the biodiversity crisis. As the current Ranking Member–former Chairman–of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Federal Lands, Rep. Neguse has been a strong advocate for expanding protections for endangered species, wildlife conservation, and ensuring humane treatment of wild horses and burros in the state of Colorado.