D.C. Legislative Update: October 18-22, 2021

Check here for the 2021 Senate Calendar
Check here for the 2021 House Calendar

Upcoming Congressional Hearings 

  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
    • Tuesday, October 19 at 10am EST: “Full Committee Hearing to Consider Pending Nominations” including Mr. Willie L. Phillips, Jr. to be a Member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Mr. Brad J. Crabtree to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy (Fossil Energy and Carbon Management), and Charles F. Sams III to be Director of the National Park Service.
    • Tuesday, October 19 at 2:30pm EST: Public Lands, Forests, & Mining Subcommittee Legislative See here for the full list of pending legislation.
    • Thursday, October 21 at 10am EST: Hearing to consider pending legislation on topics including public lands, forests, and See here for the full list of bills.
  • Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
  • House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
    • Wednesday, October 20 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation hearing on “Achieving Mission Balance: Positioning the Coast Guard for the Future.”
  • House Energy and Commerce Committee
  • House Natural Resources Committee
  • House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis
  • Senate Judiciary Committee
  • Senate Indian Affairs Committee
    • Wednesday, October 20 at 2:30pm EST: Roundtable discussion on “Investing in Economic Sovereignty: Leveraging Federal Financing for New and Sustained Development in Native Communities”
  • House Foreign Affairs Committee
    • Thursday, October 21 at 10am EST: Subcommittee: International Development, International Organizations and Global Corporate Social Impact hearing on “Preparing for COP26: United States Strategy to Combat Climate Change through International Development”
  • House Judiciary Committee
  • House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
    • Thursday, October 21 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight and Subcommittee on Energy hearing on “Judicious Spending to Enable Success of the Office of Nuclear Energy.”

Congressional News 

  • 2372, the Recovering Americas Wildlife Act, now has 29 Senate cosponsors. NWF will continue pushing for more cosponsors and advocating for this critical wildlife conservation bill.

Administrative News 

  • On Thursday, President Biden signed S. 1301, “which provides for authority to increase the debt limit by $480 billion, which is expected to be sufficient to allow the Federal Government to continue to meet its full commitments through early December.” The bill passed the Senate last week in a vote of 50-48.
  • See here for White House resources, including a comprehensive list of Executive orders to address COVID, the climate crisis, and environmental justice, among other topics.

What’s Happening This Week 

  • This week, the House and Senate are both back from recess.
  • The Senate is expected to focus on outstanding nominations this The Senate is also expected to vote on proceeding to consider the Freedom to Vote Act, which would advance critical reforms to ensure every American is able to exercise their right to vote, including by expanding early voting, making Election Day a federal holiday, and requiring states to have automatic voter registration.
  • The Senate Appropriations Committee released 9 of its 12 appropriations bills today, Monday 18, for the fiscal year 2022.
    • See the Committee’s website here for the full text of each bill. As a reminder, the House Appropriations Committee introduced and held markups on their versions earlier this year.
  • The House is expected to focus on a number of suspension bills.
  • As the White House and Congress continue work on the Build Back Better agenda, including the bipartisan infrastructure package and budget reconciliation, NWF continues to work to advance our priorities around these Please feel free to share NWF’s 117th Congress National Policy Agenda.

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Governor Holcomb announces IN Wetland Task Force

In a press release yesterday, Governor Holcomb announced the appointments to the Indiana Wetlands Task Force:

Indiana Wetlands Task Force

The governor made thirteen appointments to the new task force, who will serve until December 31, 2022:

    • The Honorable Zach Beasley (West Lafayette), Tippecanoe County Surveyor
    • Will Ditzler (Westfield), president of RiverBirch Executive Advisors, who will also serve as chair of the task force
    • Jill Hoffmann (Indianapolis), executive director of the White River Alliance
    • Jared Kakasuleff (Cicero), farmer at Kakasuleff Farms
    • Jeremy Kieffner (Evansville), environmental permit manager at Lochmueller Group
    • Dr. Sara McMillan (West Lafayette), associate professor of Agricultural & Biological Engineering at Purdue University
    • Matt Meersman (South Bend), director of the St. Joseph River Basin Commission
    • Michael Novotney (Valparaiso), Porter County Engineer and director of engineering
    • Commissioner Bruno Pigott, representing the Indiana Department of Environmental Management
    • Kyle Rorah (Dexter, MI), regional director of public policy for Ducks Unlimited
    • Joe Schmees (Fishers), executive director of the Indiana Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts
    • The Honorable Richard Strick, Mayor of Huntington
    • Jeff Thomas (Fort Wayne), co-owner and vice president of Oakmont Development, LLC

D.C. Legislative Update: Sept 20-24, 2021

Check here for the 2021 Senate Calendar
Check here for the 2021 House Calendar

Upcoming Congressional Hearings 

  • House Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
    • Tuesday, September 21 at 10am EST: “Full Committee Hearing to Consider Pending Nominations” including Laura Daniel-Davis to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior (Land and Minerals Management), Camille C. Touton to be Commissioner of Reclamation, and Sara Bronin to be Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
  • Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
    • Tuesday, September 21 at 3pm EST: Subcommittee on Tourism, Trade, and Export Promotion hearing on “Legislative Solutions to Revive Travel and Tourism and Create Jobs.”
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
    • Wednesday, September 22 at 9:30am EST: “Business meeting to consider several of President Biden’s nominees, legislation to rename federal buildings, and several General Services Administration resolutions. Immediately following, the committee will hold a hearing on the importance of promoting a circular economy.”
  • Senate Finance Committee
    • Wednesday, September 22 at 10am EST: “Hearing to Consider the Nominations of Christi A. Grimm, of Colorado, to be Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services and Neil Harvey MacBride, of Virginia, to be General Counsel for the Department of the Treasury”
  • Senate Judiciary Committee
  • House energy and Commerce Committee
  • House Agriculture Committee
  • House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
    • Thursday, September 23 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Environment hearing on “Advancing Earth System Science and Stewardship at ” This hearing will feature witness testimony from the Honorable Richard W. Spinrad, Ph.D., Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, and Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • Senate Homeland Security Committee

Congressional News  

  • Last week, components of the Build Back Better Act (budget reconciliation) bill passed out of the Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees. See here for NWF’s press release on passage through Ways and Means outlining support of the committee’s work to strengthen clean energy and technology. Additionally, see here for NWF’s tweet in support of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s work on the Build Back Better Act to advance climate action.
  • NWF sent this letter to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in support of Laura Daniel Davis’ nomination to be Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Lands and Minerals Management. Davis, NWF’s former s Chief of Policy and Advocacy, brings the leadership, skills, and experience needed for the role, and NWF supports her swift confirmation.

Administrative News  

  • Last week, NWF sent out a statement urging Congress to pursue needed and overdue reforms to the National Flood Insurance See here for NWF’s press release.
  • See here for White House resources, including a comprehensive list of Executive orders to address COVID, the climate crisis, and environmental justice, among other topics.

What’s Happening This Week  

  • Both chambers are in session this week. The House is expected to focused on a C.R. for FY2022 – to keep the government funded past the September 30 deadline and into, likely, December, 2021 – as well as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
  • The Senate is expected to work on judicial nominations this In addition, we are expecting this week a cloture and full Senate vote on the nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning for Director of the Bureau of Land Management.
  • As Congress continues to work to advance budget reconciliation, infrastructure, and appropriations, please feel free to share NWF’s 117th Congress National Policy Agenda.

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Recycle Used Printer Cartridges & Earn Cash for Indiana Wildlife

Image with cartoon icons and showing the 3 easy steps to recycle printer cartridges and raise money for IWF. Request your free shipping label from http://www.planetgreenrecycle.com/ and use the IWF program code 31793Every day over a million used ink cartridges are thrown away. Use this easy way to recycle your used printer cartridges and it will help us generate much-needed funds while doing our part to preserve the planet.

Click here to retrieve your FREE USPS shipping label to recycle your inks.

 

Be sure to type in Indiana Wildlife Federation code: 31793 when completing the shipping form.  

 

The more people who recycle their used ink cartridges with our Program ID Code: 31793 the more money we raise to protect wildlife and habitats across the state!

Brown County State Park, July 14, 2021. Photo by Abbie Gressley, IWF 2021 Summer Intern

Who needs the Indiana Wildlife Federation?

YOU do—that’s who!

For generations, Indiana has provided a diverse landscape for all who love to be outdoors.  Whether its hiking, biking, boating, fishing, hunting, camping, photography or wildlife watching—Hoosiers love to be outside.   As the population in Indiana grows, so does the pressure on our natural resources to support these cherished activities.

The mission of the Indiana Wildlife Federation (IWF) is to promote the conservation, sound management and sustainable-use of Indiana’s wildlife and wildlife habitat.  For over 82 years, IWF has been the statewide voice; loud, clear and strong speaking out for the interests of Indiana conservationists and for the preservation of our outdoor heritage so it may be enjoyed by generations to come.

Emily Wood and Aaron Stump pose after a long, wet day planting trees  and native woodland perennials at Oliver’s Woods Nature Preserve. Indianapolis, June 2, 2021. Photo by Abbie Gressley, IWF Summer Intern

How do we do it?  Through our 3 pillars of focus: Education, Advocacy and Action.  We work across Indiana delivering free environmental education programs that provide clear calls-to-action that encourage everyone to be better stewards of our natural resources and habitats.  IWF is also an agency watchdog in which our board and staff are frequently called upon to give views on bills pending before the legislature, on the actions of resource management leaders and on activities bearing upon our lands, forests, waterways or environment.  We also work to add habitat and expand access through on-the-ground volunteer projects that engage and activate a conservation network across the state.

If you are among those of us that love being outside, then you know it is more than just fresh air and sunshine.  It’s about clean water, healthy ecosystems, abundant habitat and a deep respect for the natural world. If that sounds right to you—then join us and add your support to the growing number of Hoosiers that value Indiana wildlife.

We invite you to join as a member or explore our website to find out more about upcoming events, campaigns, workshops, lecture series or projects that you can get involved with. Like us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stay connected!

Recovering America’s Wildlife Act Will Prevent IN Wildlife from Becoming Endangered

Right now, one-third of all wildlife species in the United States are at increased risk of extinction. In Indiana alone, more than 150 fish and wildlife species are in urgent need of proactive, on-the-ground conservation efforts before they pass the point of no return.

Congress just took the first step toward making those efforts a reality with the introduction of the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. This bill will fund proactive efforts led by state fish and wildlife agencies and tribes to address the nation’s looming wildlife crisis to prevent species from becoming endangered and will be the most significant investment in wildlife conservation in a generation. (Senate Version) (House Version)

At home here in Indiana, this could add over $14 million dollars to the DNR’s budget to restore native landscapes, protect and restore wetlands, and activate numerous species recovery projects that are outlined in our State Wildlife Action Plan that are in need of funding.

Whooping Crane in Flight

During August and September, congress is at home so this is a perfect time to reach out. Please join our efforts in asking your member of Congress to support the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act to address severe wildlife conservation challenges such as habitat loss, competition from invasive species, disease, climate impacts, and other threats.

Due to committee assignments, US Senator Mike Braun’s support on this bill would be especially influential. We need your help in reaching him first. You can learn more with this IN factsheet, and funding Q & A factsheet; or simply say:  “Senator, please join your colleagues Senators Martin Heinrich and Roy Blunt in cosponsoring the transformative, common-sense bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (S. 2372) today.”

 

EMAIL SENATOR BRAUNsee cosponsor request template below.
CALL: 202-224-4814
TWEET @SenatorBraun

EMAIL SENATOR YOUNGsee cosponsor request template below.
CALL: 202-224-5623
TWEET @SenToddYoung

Send a thank you email to U.S. House Representative Andre Carson, Indiana’s only #recoverwildlife congressional cosponsor.

EMAIL REPRESENTATIVE CARSONSee thank you template below.
Call: 202-225-4011
TWEET @RepAndreCarson

Need a template letter?

Subject Line: Please Co-Sponsor the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, S. 2372

Dear Senator,

America’s wildlife are essential for our national heritage and our $887 billion dollar outdoor economy. But thanks to challenges like habitat loss, invasive species, emerging diseases, and climate change we’re losing ground and species — and fast.

Right now, more than one-third of our fish and wildlife species are at-risk of becoming extinct. We have already lost more than 150 species that are presumed extinct and another 500 species are missing in action. State fish and wildlife agencies have identified more than 12,000 species of greatest conservation need. 

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will accelerate the recovery of these species, including the more than 150 U.S. species listed on Indiana’s State Wildlife Action Plan.

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is built upon the premise that the best way to save America’s wildlife is through collaborative, proactive, voluntary work before species need more expensive “emergency room procedures” through the Endangered Species Act. I urge you to create a bright future for America’s wildlife and natural heritage by supporting and co-sponsoring S. 2372.  

Sincerely,

Thank-you Letter Template

Subject line: Thank you for supporting the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act 

Dear Representative Carson,

I am writing to thank you for co-sponsoring H.R. 2773, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, and asking you to do all you can to ensure it passes and is signed into law. 

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act invests in proactive, on-the-ground, collaborative conservation efforts that match the magnitude of America’s wildlife crisis. Healthy wildlife populations are a vital component of our national heritage and our $887 billion dollar outdoor economy. But our diverse array of fish and wildlife is in crisis with more than one-third of all species at risk of becoming endangered. Challenges facing our fish and wildlife in the 21st century include habitat loss, climate change, invasive species, and emerging diseases. 

Thank you for standing up for wildlife through your support of this bipartisan legislation. I urge you to continue advocating for passage of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act in the 117th Congress.

Sincerely,

 

New Video Indiana Climate Change: Fishing the White River

Indiana Wildlife Federation’s “Fishing the White River” shows the threat of climate change to the White River and the current impacts on some of Indiana’s best fly fishing locations.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (August 23, 2021) – A new 4 min short video released this week explores how fly fishing on the White River in central Indiana has been impacted by climate-driven severe weather over the years. The film focuses on the ways that seasonal flooding and temperature increases are changing White River habitats and other Indiana river systems. Fishing the White River, was released by the Indiana Wildlife Federation (IWF), and features local fly fishing guide Jason DeArman of Two Forks Guide Service.

In addition to the video IWF has added online resources at www.indianawildlife.org/climate outlining how equitable policies and programs can create jobs, tackle climate change, and harness the power of nature to enhance long-term health for people and wildlife alike.  “Hunters and anglers are often times the first to notice changes in the environment because of their intimate knowledge of a natural place,” says Emily Wood, executive director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation. “As heavy rain events, hotter summers, and milder winters, become more frequent throughout the Midwest, the IWF hopes to galvanize these outdoor users to take action for climate before these places are gone.”

This video was filmed, produced, and edited by Leslie Lorance of Indianapolis and supported by a grant from the National Wildlife Federation.

Fishing the White River can seen below or viewed on YouTube and the Indiana Wildlife Federation’s Facebook Page.

Goble shows multiple caterpillars on a leaf in one of her cages designed to keep them safe July 18, 2021. The caterpillars eat anywhere from fourteen to twenty before curving into a J and forming their cocoon.

Monarchs have a friend in Indiana

Monarchs have a friend in Indiana

Story and photos by Abbie Gressley, Indiana Wildlife Federation 2021 Summer Habitat Intern

When Amanda Goble first started raising monarch butterflies three years ago, she only knew there weren’t many in her area. Little did she know the process she loves so much would soon be making a larger impact on the monarch population.

“I realize it is a small part to help, but any small thing could make a big impact eventually,” says the 46-year-old from Marion, Indiana.

The eastern migratory population of monarch butterflies decreased by 84% between the winters of 1996–1997 and 2014–2015, and the much smaller western monarch population has declined 74% since the late 1990s, according to the Indiana Monarch Conservation Plan (IMCP).

The IMCP was influenced by those interested in monarch butterfly conservation and habitat restoration in an attempt to reverse the population decline of North American monarchs.

Goble says they had almost lost monarchs in the area due to chemical spraying for bugs on crops and people using them at their own homes without the pollinators. So, she planted milkweed seeds for the monarchs to lay eggs on and had her husband build screened in cages to protect the caterpillars and cocoons from other bugs.

“I have an abundance of praying mantis in my yard, and they will eat them, so this gives them a safe place to stay in hopes that they will make it to butterflies,” she says.

Goble starts her process in the spring to make sure the milkweed is growing and plant more if needed. In July, the monarchs start showing up for nectar and begin laying eggs on the plants. She then watches for caterpillars and takes them to the cages to finish growing. It takes about fourteen to twenty days for them to eat before creating a J with their bodies and forming a cocoon. The cocoon will hatch within seven to nine days.

“Finding the caterpillars and letting the butterflies go is about all the hands-on work you need to do, the rest they do on their own,” Goble says. “I try not to interfere with their process too much.”

Goble says she loves the whole process and only wishes to help them grow to adulthood.

“I think it’s fascinating how an egg the size of a pinhead can grow to a caterpillar then change into a butterfly out of a small cocoon,” she says. “Watching them fly away is my favorite part; I say goodbye to each one and wish them well on their journey.”

According to the IMCP, Indiana, along with other Midwestern states, comprises a particularly important portion of the range of the eastern population of monarch butterflies, supplying much of the breeding and migrating habitat that produces the migratory generation of the eastern monarch population.

Goble is one of many in Indiana playing a small role for a much bigger cause for these butterflies.

“I just let the butterflies fly away in hopes that they will live to make new caterpillars and butterflies,” she says. “I hope to continue to give the butterflies a chance to survive and keep coming back to our area.”

 

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is A Good Step, but Much More is Needed on Climate

The bipartisan infrastructure bill, called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, is being debated and voted on in the Senate. While the bill touches on many urgent infrastructure needs, it does not directly address climate change at nearly the scale needed. That is why Congress must also pass a larger package that tackles climate change head on.

  • The bipartisan bill does have some good things for climate:
    • Helps reduce climate pollution from cars and trucks and funds electric vehicle charging infrastructure
    • Upgrades the electric grid and transmission system to prepare for new wind and solar as well as smart metering and EVs
    • Helps plug orphan oil and gas wells that are major sources of methane pollution and reclaim abandoned mine lands so they can be restored for nature
    • Invests in carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS) and direct air capture (taking CO2 out of the air directly so it can be used or stored underground) and the pipelines and other infrastructure needed to move CO2 from where it is captured to where it will be stored or turned into a useful product like concrete
    • Puts some needed funding into ecosystem restoration, wildfire prevention and management, and Western water management.

However, while measures like EV infrastructure, grid upgrades, and CCUS investments help enable future climate gains, there is a lot more needed from Congress to address climate now.  On August 9, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is expected to come out with another update on our warming planet, and will sound the alarm that climate impacts are already widespread and severe in the U.S. Emissions must come down swiftly for the globe to have a chance at keeping within a 1.5-degree warming limit – the point after which impacts become disastrous.

  • Climate items that are not included in the bipartisan bill that are badly needed through a larger budget reconciliation package include:
    • A plan to move electric utilities off of coal and gas in favor of clean power sources by 2035
    • A robust extension of tax credits for installing and producing clean and renewable energy, energy efficiency upgrades, and electric vehicle purchases
    • Tax credits for new transmission lines that will carry electricity from new wind and solar plants to the communities where it will be used
    • Tax incentives for the production of clean energy machinery and electric vehicles so America is leading the way in manufacturing these things at home
    • Investments in ecosystem restoration and resilience that fully meet the need and empower nature to thrive and help draw down CO2
    • A 21st century Civilian Conservation/Climate Corps to tackle climate change, restore our lands and waters, make our communities more resilient, and create jobs

The science is clear: We need to act now if we are going to prevent a climate disaster. This moment is the time to go big and act decisively. Congress must pass the bipartisan bill that sets the stage, then move on to the main event.

Tell Hoosier senators to act on climate now by supporting the inclusion of these items!

EMAIL SENATOR YOUNG
CALL: 202-224-5623
TWEET @SenToddYoung

EMAIL SENATOR BRAUN
CALL: 202-224-4814
TWEET @SenatorBraun

 

DC Legislative Update: August 2 – 6, 2021

DC Legislative Update: August 2 – 6, 2021

Check here for the 2021 Senate Calendar
Check here for the 2021 House Calendar

Upcoming Congressional Hearings

  • Senate Appropriations Committee
  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
    • Tuesday, August 3 at 10am EST: Hearing to consider the nominations of Dr. Geraldine Richmond to be Under Secretary for Science, Department of Energy;Ms. Cynthia Weiner Stachelberg to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior (Policy, Management, and Budget); and Asmeret Berhe to be Director of the Office of Science, Department of Energy.”
    • Thursday, August 5 at 10am EST: Hearing On The Role Of And Programs Within the DOE’s Office Of Science.
  • Senate Agriculture Committee
    • Thursday, August 5 at 10am EST: To consider the following nomination: Homer L. Wilkes to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment.

Congressional News 

  • Last week, Reps. Lowenthal [D-CA] and Fitzpatrick [R-PA], along with 47 bipartisan cosponsors, introduced the Migratory Bird Protection Act to safeguard and strengthen longstanding protections for North America’s migratory Read NWF’s press release here.
  • NWF’s Tracy Stone-Manning received her first of three floor votes on Tuesday, winning the support of the full Democratic caucus. The Senate will hold one more procedural vote before a final confirmation Timing on these votes is unclear.
  • The Senate, in a bipartisan 58-41 vote, confirmed Todd Kim as assistant attorney general in charge of the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
  • The Senate confirmed Janie Hipp for General Counsel of the US Department of Hipp’s nomination advanced through the Senate Agriculture Committee with bipartisan support on May 27.
  • The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing on the nominations of Xochitl Torres Small to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Development and Robert Bonnie to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm Production and Conservation.
  • The House passed a minibus that included seven appropriations bills, including the Interior-EPA, Energy & Water, and Agriculture subcommittee The Senate begins work on appropriations this week, with three hearings scheduled for the committee.
  • In previous weeks, Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee agreed to a $3.5 trillion top-line spending level to address President Biden’s priorities, laid out in the American Families Plan and American Jobs We expect movement on the budget resolution in the coming weeks.
  • Last week, the Clean Economy Coalition of Color convened to discuss ways that federal investment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs and businesses can ensure every community doesn’t just survive, but thrive in a clean energy future. Stay tuned for the next convening.
  • Last week, NWF’s Collin O’Mara testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee – on water infrastructure – and the House Natural Resources’ Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee – on a number of wildlife bills, including Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. See here and here for O’Mara’s testimonies, respectfully.

Administrative News 

  • The White House nominated Jainey Bavishi for Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, Department of Bavishi has advocated for confronting climate change, and, if confirmed, will serve as one of the two top deputies to NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad.
  • See here for White House resources, including a comprehensive list of Executive orders to address COVID, the climate crisis, and environmental justice, among other topics.

What’s Happening This Week  

  • The House is in The Senate is expected to work on infrastructure this week.
  • Last week, the Senate voted 67-32 to proceed towards consideration of a bipartisan infrastructure Over the weekend, the Senate released bill text for the $1 trillion dollar package – see here for text. We anticipate Senate passage in the coming weeks.
  • NWF will continue to weigh in with offices on organizational priorities. NWF’s statement on the bill is here, and the White House fact sheet is here. In addition, check out this new white paper, led by Brittney Parker and Jessie Ritter, which details opportunities to advance natural infrastructure through FEMA and HUD funding
  • As Congress continues to work to advance reconciliation and appropriations, please feel free to share NWF’s 117th Congress National Policy Agenda.

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DC Legislative Update: July 26-30, 2021

DC Legislative Update: JULY 26 – 30, 2021

Check here for the 2021 Senate Calendar
Check here for the 2021 House Calendar

Upcoming Congressional Hearings 

  • Senate Agriculture Committee
    • Monday, July 26 at 5:30pm EST: Business Meeting “To vote on the nomination of Jennifer Moffitt, of California, to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.”
    • Thursday, July 29 at 10am EST: “To consider the following nominations: Xochitl Torres Small to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Development and Robert Bonnie to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm Production and Conservation.”
  • House Financial Services Committee
    • Tuesday, July 27 at 2pm EST: Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance hearing on “NAHASDA Reauthorization: Addressing Historic Disinvestment and the Ongoing Plight of the Freedmen in Native American ”
  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
    • Tuesday, July 27 at 10am EST: “Hearing to Examine the President’s FY 2022 Budget Request for the Department of the ” This hearing will feature Secretary Haaland. Secretary of the US Department of the Interior.
    • Wednesday, July 28 at 10am EST: “National Parks Subcommittee Hearing to review the impacts of overcrowding in our national parks on park resources and visitor experiences, and to consider strategic approaches to visitor use management.”
  • Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
    • Tuesday, July 27 at 10am EST: “Pipeline Cybersecurity: Protecting Critical ”
    • Wednesday, July 28 at 10am EST: Nominations hearing “to consider the presidential nominations of Alexander Hoehn-Saric to be a Commissioner and Chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC); Mary Boyle to be a Commissioner of the CPSC; Richard Trumka, Jr. to be a Commissioner of the CPSC; and Grant Harris to be Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis at the Department of Commerce.”
  • House Agriculture Committee
  • House Natural Resources Committee
    • Tuesday, July 27 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources hearing on “The Toxic Legacy of the Mining Law of 1872”
    • Thursday, July 29 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife “Hybrid Legislative Hearing” on over a dozen wildlife and fisheries bills, including the Recovering America’s Wildlife ” This hearing will feature testimony on the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act from NWF’s own Collin O’Mara. This is going to be a fantastic opportunity to educate new committee members about the bill, discuss the ever-growing coalition of supporters, and emphasize the urgency of advancing the bill this year. The committee will also be looking at other important bills we support, including the MONARCH Act, the Extinction Prevention Act, and the Safeguarding America’s Future Act.
  • House Oversight and Reform Committee
  • House Judiciary Committee
    • Tuesday, July 27 at 2:30pm EST: Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties hearing on “The Need to Enhance the Voting Rights Act: Practice-Based ”
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
    • Wednesday, July 28 at 10am EST: “Examining the Benefits of Investing in USACE Water Infrastructure Projects.” This hearing will include testimony from NWF’s own Collin O’Mara. This is the committee’s kickoff for developing the next Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) bill, which has enormous implications for natural infrastructure, environmental justice, freshwater species, ecosystem restoration, and potential risks associated with dredging and navigation You can watch the hearing here.
    • Thursday, July 29 at 10am EST: “Hearing on the Nominations of Stephen Owens, Jennifer Beth Sass, and Sylvia E. Johnson to be members of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigations Board.”
  • Senate Judiciary Committee
  • House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis
  • House Science, Space, and Transportation Committee
    • Thursday, July 29 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics hearing on “Enabling Mission Success from the Group Up: Addressing NASA’s Urgent Infrastructure ”
  • House Transportation Committee
  • House Foreign Affairs Committee
    • Thursday, July 29 at 1pm EST: Subcommittee on Europe, Energy, the Environment and Cyber hearing on “Renewable Energy Transition: A Case Study of How International Collaboration on Offshore Wind Technology Benefits American Workers.”

Congressional News 

  • Senators Heinrich [D-NM] and Blunt [R-MO] introduced the bipartisan “Recovering America’s Wildlife Act” to “dedicate $1.4 billion annually to proactive, voluntary, locally-led efforts to recover thousands of at-risk wildlife species, while creating jobs and ensuring US outdoor heritage endures for future ” See NWF’s press release here and more on the bill here.
  • Last week, the House passed the bipartisan “PFAS Action Act,” introduced by Reps. Dingell [D-MI] and Upton [R-MI], that would address the contamination and cleanup of dangerous chemicals that endanger the health of humans and See NWF’s press release here.
  • Last week, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted on the nomination of NWF’s own Tracy Stone-Manning for Director of the Bureau of Land Management. She received a 10-10 vote, meaning the Senate will next take up a vote to discharge her nomination from committee.
  • Senator Casey [D-PA] introduced legislation to create a “21st-century Civilian Conservation Corps to address the environmental and economic crises facing American communities. The bill establishes a Civilian Conservation Corps that partners with state and federal agencies, NGOs, and local partners to create on-the-ground conservation projects that conserve and restore public lands as well as private working lands, including conservation projects on farms as well as restoration of abandoned mines and contaminated lands. The bill would also ensure the programs create good paying jobs and job training for future employment, particularly in frontline ” See NWF’s press release here.
  • In previous weeks, Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee agreed to a $3.5 trillion top-line spending level to address President Biden’s priorities, laid out in the American Families Plan and American Jobs We expect movement on the budget resolution in the coming weeks.v

Administrative News 

  • See here for White House resources, including a comprehensive list of Executive orders to address COVID, the climate crisis, and environmental justice, among other topics.

What’s Happening This Week 

  • The Senate is beginning the week with a focus on nominations, including the nomination of Todd Sunhwae Kim to head the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, as members continue to try to work out a bipartisan infrastructure agreement.
  • The House is considering an appropriations minibus package, H.R. 4502, which includes seven of the twelve appropriations bills including Agriculture, Energy-Water, Interior-Environment, and We expect floor consideration later this week.
  • The July convening of the Clean Economy Coalition of Color will occur on Wednesday, July 28 from 6- 7:30pm EST. This convening will revolve around “ways that federal investment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs and businesses can ensure every community doesn’t just survive, but thrive in a clean energy future.” Register here to attend.
  • As Congress continues to work on appropriations and budget reconciliation, NWF will continue to advocate for organizational See NWF’s 117th Congress National Policy Agenda for more.

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Photo Credit: Steven Mueller, IWF Board Member

Legislative Call to Action: Tell U.S. Senator Todd Young to protect Indiana’s wildlife and habitats

THE SHORT VERSION

A senate version of the historic Recovering America’s Wildlife Act was just introduced in the U.S. Senate and Indiana Senator Todd Young plays an important role in advancing the legislation.  We need your help reaching him with this specific message:

“Senator Young, please join your colleagues Senators Martin Heinrich and Roy Blunt in cosponsoring the transformative, common-sense bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (S. 2372) and supporting its inclusion in the bipartisan infrastructure package currently being negotiated.”

EMAIL SENATOR YOUNG
CALL: 202-224-5623
TWEET @SenToddYoung

 

THE LONG VERSION

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, just introduced in the U.S. Senate (S. 2372), will catalyze collaborative, on-the-ground habitat restoration projects, help with species reintroductions, tackle disease, and boost other much needed conservation efforts to match the magnitude of the wildlife crisis.

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will help conserve our nation’s fish and wildlife by dedicating $1.3 billion for state-level conservation and $97.5 million to Tribal Nations to recover and sustain healthy fish and wildlife populations. The funding will be used to implement on-the-ground conservation efforts such as conserving and restoring habitats, fighting invasive species, reintroducing native species and tackling emerging diseases for more than 12,000 species. These state-identified Species of Greatest Conservation Need are outlined in the congressionally mandated State Wildlife Action Plans to inform their conservation actions in each state. The additional funding to Tribal Nations will allow for the expansion of conservation efforts on their lands, which provide vital habitat for hundreds of fish and wildlife species, including more than 500 species listed as threatened or endangered. Dedicated and robust funding is essential to recovering species already listed as threatened or endangered and to preventing additional species from needing “emergency room” measures through the Endangered Species Act. 

Indiana Senator Todd Young plays an important committee role and we need your help in reaching him with the following message:

  • Senator, please join your colleagues Senators Martin Heinrich and Roy Blunt in cosponsoring the transformative, common-sense bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (S. 2372) and supporting its inclusion in the bipartisan infrastructure package currently being negotiated.
  • This bill will create jobs restoring natural infrastructure and enhancing wildlife habitat in every state in the country. A bipartisan, comprehensive infrastructure package should ensure our wildlife survives for future generations, and this bill is the silver bullet to make sure that happens.
  • Indiana DNR lists over 150 species of plants and wildlife species in our state that are threatened or endangered. This bill could add over $14 million to Indiana’s fish and wildlife recovery programs.
  • This bill will help recover wildlife across the country by investing in habitat restoration that will also restore wetlands, forests and prairies to help reduce flooding, improve drinking water, and reduce carbon.
  • This complementary funding for fish and wildlife restoration and conservation will create jobs and drive efficiency and responsiveness when executing the many gray and green projects that will result from a comprehensive surface transportation and infrastructure package.

 

Photo credit: Maria Overlay

New Bill Would Galvanize Wildlife Conservation, Help Prevent Extinctions in Indiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

National Wildlife Federation Logo     

New Bill Would Galvanize Wildlife Conservation, Help Prevent Extinctions in Indiana

 

Indianapolis, IN (July 21, 2021) — New bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate will fund locally-led efforts to help prevent extinctions and help wildlife thrive nationwide. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will send approximately $14.5 million to Indiana each year, which the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IN-DNR) will use to help the over 150 species of concern in Indiana, such as the Whooping Crane, Lake Sturgeon, and our own Indiana Bat.

“We are facing a looming wildlife crisis. This commonsense, bipartisan bill will allow us to get ahead of the problem by stepping in to help at-risk wildlife early with collaborative, voluntary measures,” said Indiana Wildlife Federation executive director, Emily Wood. “This will also create jobs restoring our constantly threatened wetlands, prairies, and forests.”

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act was just introduced in the Senate by Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) introduced a similar version of the  Recovering America’s Wildlife Act in the House in April.

“The historic, bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is by far the most important piece of wildlife legislation in the past half century,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “At a time when more than one-third of wildlife species are at heightened risk of extinction, this critical legislation will help recover thousands of at-risk species through proactive, collaborative efforts in every state, territory, and Tribal nation, creating jobs while preventing extinctions. We applaud the incredible bipartisan leadership of Senator Heinrich and Senator Blunt, and their House partners Rep. Dingell and Rep. Fortenberry, who are all demonstrating once again that wildlife conservation can unite all Americans.”

Nationwide, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act dedicates $1.4 billion annually to locally-led wildlife restoration efforts, with most of the money going to wildlife agencies like IN-DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife who will use the money to implement existing plans for at-risk wildlife. At least 15 percent of the funds will be used to help species that are already considered endangered or threatened. Additionally, Tribal Nations would share $97.5 million annually to fund wildlife conservation efforts on the tens of millions of acres under Tribal management nationwide.

More than 1,500 businesses and organizations have signed on in support of the legislation, including Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Bass Pro Shops, Ducks Unlimited, Indiana Conservation Alliance, Indiana Wildlife Federation, Izaak Walton League, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, National Wild Turkey Federation and Wild Birds Unlimited.

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The Indiana Wildlife Federation has played a part in conserving Indiana’s natural resources since 1938. As the nonprofit, grass-roots affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation; IWF mission is to promote the conservation, sound management and sustainable use of Indiana’s wildlife and wildlife habitat through education, advocacy and action. 

 The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly-changing world.

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DC Legislative Update: July 19 – 23, 2021

DC Legislative Update: July 19 – 23, 2021

Check here for the 2021 Senate Calendar
Check here for the 2021 House Calendar

Upcoming Congressional Hearings 

  • House Financial Services Committee
    • Tuesday, July 20 at 10am EST: “Building Back A Better, More Equitable Housing Infrastructure for America: Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban ”
  • House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
  • House Natural Resources Committee
    • Tuesday, July 20 at 12pm EST: Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States legislative hearing on R. 442 (Rep. Young), the Alaska Regional Health Consortium Land Transfer Act, and H.R. 3496 (Rep. Gallego), the Urban Indian Health Providers Facilities Improvement Act.
    • Tuesday, July 20 at 3pm EST: Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Oversight Hearing titled “Examining the Potential for a Civilian Climate Corps.”
  • Wednesday, July 21 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Oversight hearing on “Examining the President’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Proposal for the S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
  • Wednesday, July 22 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Chemical Safety, Waste Management, Environmental Justice, and Regulatory Oversight hearing on “Examining Current Issues Adversely Affecting Environmental Justice ”
  • House Agriculture Committee
    • Wednesday, July 21 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry hearing on “The U.S. Wood Products Industry: Facilitating the Post COVID-19 Recovery.”
  • Senate Judiciary Committee
  • Senate Foreign Relations Committee
    • Wednesday, July 21 at 2pm EST: Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy hearing on “Combatting Climate Change in East Asia and the Pacific”

Congressional News 

  • Last week, Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee agreed to a $3.5 trillion top-line spending level to address President Biden’s priorities, laid out in the American Families Plan and American Jobs We expect movement on the budget resolution in the coming weeks.
  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 13-7 to pass the bipartisan Energy Infrastructure Act of 2021 which aims to create jobs and put people back to work restoring degraded lands, strengthening community resilience, expanding clean energy and carbon capture technology, and reducing wildfire risk. See here for NWF’s press release, including a link to Collin O’Mara’s previous testimony on the bill.
  • Last week, the Senate voted 72-27 to confirm Nellie Liang as the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for domestic finance and 91-8 to confirm Donald Remy’s nomination to be deputy secretary of Veterans
  • On July 16, Senators Bennet [D-CO] and Heinrich [D-N.M.] introduced S.2369, the Tribal Access to Clean Water Act of 2021. The bill would provide substantial appropriations to federal agencies tasked with addressing clean water infrastructure on tribal lands and would ensure that all Native Americans are able to access clean water for drinking and See here for the Senators’ press release.

Administrative News 

  • On July 15, the U.S. Forest Service announced plans to repeal the Alaska Roadless Rule and to end large-scale old-growth logging on the Tongass as part of the Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy. See here for NWF’s press release.
  • See here for White House resources, including a comprehensive list of Executive orders to address COVID, the climate crisis, and environmental justice, among other topics.

What’s Happening This Week 

  • As Congress continues to work on appropriations and budget reconciliation, NWF will continue to advocate for organizational priorities. See NWF’s 117th Congress National Policy Agenda for more.
  • NWF, the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center and Reimagine Appalachia are hosting an event on Wednesday, July 21, from 2-3pm EST to evaluate the potential for a twenty-first century Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Register here to attend.
  • House is back in session this week and is expected to take up the PFAS Action Act on the floor this week.

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DC Legislative Update June 28 – July 2, 2021

DC Legislative Update June 28 – July 2, 2021

Check here for the 2021 Senate Calendar
Check here for the 2021 House Calendar

Upcoming Congressional Hearings

  •  House Appropriations Committee
    • Monday, June 28 at 5:30pm EST: “Markup of Fiscal Year 2022 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Appropriations ”
    • Tuesday, June 29 at 11am EST: “Markup of FY2022 Report on the Suballocation of Budget Allocations, Legislative Branch and Financial Services and General Government Appropriations ”
    • Wednesday, June 30 at 1pm EST: “Markup of FY2022 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations ”
  • House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
    • Tuesday, June 29 at 10am EST: Hearing on “The State of Federal Wildland Fire Science: Examining Opportunities for Further Research and Coordination.”
  • House Financial Services Committee
    • Tuesday, June 29 at 3pm EST: Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion hearing on “The Legacy of George Floyd: An Examination of Financial Services Industry Commitments to Economic and Racial Justice.”
    • Wednesday, June 30 at 2pm EST: Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions hearing on “Addressing Climate as a Systemic Risk: The Need to Build Resilience within Our Banking and Financial System.”
  • House Energy and Commerce Committee
  • House Natural Resources Committee
    • Tuesday, June 29 at 1pm EST: Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Legislative Hearing on H.R. 1851, R. 1869, H.R. 3877, and H.R. 4099.
    • Wednesday, June 30 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on “Toxic Coal Ash: Adverse Health Effects from the Puerto Rico Plant and Options for Plant ”
    • Wednesday, June 30 at 1pm EST: Committee on Natural Resources Office of Insular Affairs Legislative Hearing on H.R. 1317 and R. 1126.
  • House Agriculture Committee
    • Wednesday, June 30 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research hearing on “Supply Chain Recovery and Resiliency: Small Producers and Local Agricultural ”
  • House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis

Congressional News

  • Last week, the House voted to pass the methane CRA by 229-191. The purpose of this CRA is to reverse a rule made by the previous Administration that lifted methane pollution limits on new oil and See here for NWF’s newest factsheet on the consequences of methane pollution.
  • A number of nominees were confirmed by the Senate last week, including Shannon Estenoz to be Assistant Secretary of Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the Department of the Interior by voice vote.
  • The Senate passed the bipartisan “Growing Climate Solutions Act” last NWF has endorsed the legislation as it aims to help farmers, ranchers, and forest owners who participate in carbon markets.
  • Senator Bennet [D-CO] introduced the Oil and Gas Bonding Reform and Orphaned Well Remediation This bill would clean up tens of thousands of orphaned wells while strengthening bonding requirements to ensure accountability in future cleanups. See here for NWF’s press release.
  • Last Thursday, NWF’s Collin O’Mara testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on various infrastructure priorities and the need to “address the potential of harnessing nature and human innovation to mitigate and solve the growing climate crisis.” You can view the video of the hearing See here for NWF’s statement.
  • On Tuesday, the Senate took a procedural vote on the For the People Act, a sweeping voting rights bill that would modernize our voting systems, bolster election security, and break down the barriers to voting faced by marginalized communities, climate and wildlife advocates, and Senators voted 50-50 on the legislation, which did not advance.

Administrative News

  •  See here for White House resources, including a comprehensive list of Executive orders to address COVID, the climate crisis, and environmental justice, among other topics. Additionally, see here for the White House’s fact sheet in support of the $1.2 trillion Senate Bipartisan Infrastructure

What’s Happening This Week

  • The Senate is in recess until July 12 and the House is in through Thursday. We anticipate this week there will be floor debate and a vote on the Invest in America Act, a $715 billion surface transportation bill, and other infrastructure bills from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the water focused pieces from the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
  • This week, NWF’s Wildlife Team, affiliates (including Indiana Wildlife Federation), and partners will continue their virtual fly-in focused on R.2773, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2021. The fly-in has held, and anticipate more, meetings with Members of Congress and their staff to discuss the importance of the legislation and to urge cosponsorship of this essential bill.
  • NWF sent its “National Policy Agenda for the 117th Congress” to Capitol Hill. While this isn’t an exhaustive list of all of our federal priorities, we think it provides an excellent picture of the critical work our policy team is undertaking in Congress and with the Administration. See here for the full document and please feel free to share this link (https://www.nwf.org/2021-national-policy- agenda) with a breakdown of the document on NWF’s website.

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DC Legislative Update: June 7-11, 2021

NWF DC Legislative Update: June 7-11, 2021

Check here for the 2021 Senate Calendar
Check here for the 2021 House Calendar

 

Upcoming Congressional Hearings

  • House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
    • Monday, June 7 at 11am EST: Subcommittee on Environment hearing on “Defining a National ‘Oceanshot’: Accelerating Ocean and Great Lakes Science and Technology.”
    • Wednesday, June 9 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Research and Technology hearing on “Building Regional Innovation Economies.”
  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
    • Tuesday, June 8 at 10am EST: Full Committee Hearing to Consider Pending Nominations, including:
      • Tracy Stone-Manning to be Director of the Bureau of Land Management;
      • Shalanda H. Baker to be Director of the Office of Minority Economic Impact, Department of Energy;
      • Samuel T. Walsh to be General Counsel, Department of Energy; and
      • Andrew E. Light to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy (International Affairs).
    • House Ways and Means Committee
      • Tuesday, June 8 at 10am EST: Hearing on “The President’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2022 Budget with the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary ”
    • House Energy and Commerce Committee
      • Tuesday, June 8 at 2pm EST: Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce hearing on “The Fiscal Year 2022 Department of Commerce Budget.”
  • House Homeland Security Committee
    • Tuesday, June 8 at 2pm EST: Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery hearing on “Examining Climate Change: A Threat to the Homeland.”
  • House Natural Resources Committee
    • Tuesday, June 8 at 12pm EST: Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands hearing to examine how to expand access to public lands, including easing permits for tour guides and addressing infrastructure
    • Tuesday, June 8 at 3pm EST: Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife hearing on “DDT Dumping Off the Southern California Coast: Ecological Impacts, Scientific Needs, and Next Steps”
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
    • Wednesday, June 9 at 10am EST: Full committee markup to consider, among others, the:
      • Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (ANS) to H.R. 1915, the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021;
      • Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (ANS) to H.R. 3684, the INVEST in America Act
    • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
  • Senate Appropriations Committee
    • Wednesday, June 9 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Interior, Environment “Hearing to examine proposed budget estimates and justification for fiscal year 2022 for the Environmental Protection ”
  • Wednesday, June 9 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education “Hearing on the President’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Request for the United States Department of Health and Human ”
  • Wednesday, June 9 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development hearing on “A Review of the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Submission for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Reclamation.”
  • Thursday, June 10 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development hearing on “A Review of the President’s FY 2022 Funding Request and Budget Justification for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.”

Government hearing on the “Office of Management and Budget FY22 Budget Requests.”

Congressional News

  • The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Senate Finance Committees marked up the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 and the Clean Energy for America Act of 2021, respectively. The former, a bipartisan bill calling for $303.5 billion in investments into surface transportation infrastructure including $350 million for wildlife crossings and billions in climate- targeted investments, passed the committee by a vote of 20-0. The latter would replace current clean energy tax credits with a technology-neutral credit, while also incorporating new labor standards and an added incentive for clean energy deployment and manufacturing in fossil fuel-intensive areas. See NWF’s statement on the bills here.
  • The Senate voted to confirm Eric Lander, Biden’s last cabinet-level nominee, to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • The Senate confirmed Kristen Clarke to be Assistant Attorney General overseeing the Civil Rights She was confirmed on a 51-48 vote and is the first Black woman to lead the division. See here for NWF’s tweet in support.
  • The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted to advance three nominees to lead the EPA and the Interior The votes included:
    • a 14-6 vote to approve Radhika Fox to be Assistant Administrator for water at
    • a vote of 19-1 to approve Michal Freedhoff to be Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention at EPA
    • a 19-1 vote to approve Shannon Estenoz to be Assistant Secretary of Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the Interior Estenoz’s nomination was also approved by voice vote by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved nominees for positions in the Interior Department. The votes included:
    • a 11-9 vote to approve tribal law expert Robert Anderson’s nomination to be the Department’s Solicitor.
    • approval for Tanya Trujillo to be Assistant Secretary for Water and Science.
  • The Senate Agriculture Committee voted to advance the nomination of Janie Hipp, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation with decades of experience in agricultural law, to be USDA General See here for NWF’s tweet in support.
  • NWF and our 11 Western Affiliates submitted this letter asking the Secretary of Interior to support continuation and expansion of the Department of the Interior’s efforts to maintain, conserve, and enhance big game migration corridors and winter seasonal ranges across the West, currently formalized through DOI’s Secretarial Order 3362.
  • NWF and 33 state, regional, and national partners sent this letter to congressional leadership calling for prioritization of energy transition communities and fossil fuel industry workers in infrastructure
  • Last week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair DeFazio, Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chair Holmes Norton, and Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Chair Payne, Jr. introduced the INVEST in America The proposal calls for a five- year, $547 billion surface transportation bill that incorporates many of the Administration’s priorities, including invests of $343 billion in surface transportation. See the committee’ press release for additional resources.

Administrative News

  • On May 24, the Administration announced an increase of $1 billion in funding to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) pre-disaster mitigation “Building Resilience Infrastructure and Communities ” See NWF’s press release in support of the announcement here.
  • On May 25, the White House, along with National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, and Under Secretary for Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, announced a new effort to advance areas for offshore wind off the northern and central coasts of California. See the White House’s fact sheet here.
  • On May 26, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a proposed listing for the lesser prairie chicken under the Endangered Species Act. NWF supports increased resources to conserve and restore the population and southern Great Plains grasslands through the creation of a new North American Grasslands Conservation Act and support for Farm Bill programs. See the proposed listing here and NWF’s press release here for more.
  • On May 24, NWF sent a letter and issued a statement calling on the US Department of Agriculture and Department of Justice to reconsider their positions in ongoing litigation over a planned mine at Chi’chil Biłdagoteel, also known as Oak Flat, in Arizona See here for NWF’s statement and here for the letter NWF sent to the departments.
  • The EPA on May 27 announced plans to revise the previous administration’s guidance limiting the role of states and Tribes in implementing water quality standards under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. See here for NWF’s
  • The Administration issued a suspension on oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge until the Department of the Interior is given the opportunity conduct a comprehensive review the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Read NWF’s press release here.
  • The Administration recently released its $6 trillion-dollar budget proposal for FY22, including allocations and investments into key infrastructure, climate, environment, and related issues The proposed budget, which can be found here as well as on federal agency websites, includes:
    • $350 million for Everglades restoration, a historic increase over prior See here for NWF’s statement.
  • On June 7, the Biden Administration released a decision to reassess the Trump administration’s changes on how federal agencies implement the Endangered Species NWF supports this decision and the continued strengthening of bedrock environment and wildlife laws. See here for NWF’s press release.
  • The Administration issued a proclamation stating June 2021 is National Oceans Month. See here for White House resources, including a comprehensive list of Executive orders to address COVID, the climate crisis, and environmental justice, among other topics.

 

What’s Happening This Week

  • We expect the Senate to take up nominations, including those listed above and judicial nominees, on the floor this week. The House is in a committee work week, and we expect the Appropriations Committee to work towards marking up bills over the next several
  • Last week, NWF issued a press release, containing this letter, in which 47 of NWF affiliates voiced support for NWF’s Tracy Stone-Manning’s nomination to lead the Bureau of Land Management. The letter was sent to Capitol Hill in advance of Manning’s hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday, June 8th at 10 am ET. You can watch here!

Senator Heinrich has been circulating a letter calling for investments in natural infrastructure, resilience, and habitat conservation in any upcoming infrastructure package. NWF strongly supports the letter, and urges Senators to sign-on, as the recommendations align with our Restoration and Resilience report – located here and in our press release here.

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DC Legislative Update: May 24-28, 2021

 

DC Legislative Update: May 24-28, 2021

Check here for the 2021 Senate Calendar
Check here for the 2021 House Calendar

Upcoming Congressional Hearings

 House Natural Resources Committee

House Appropriations Committee

    • Monday, 24 at 2pm EST: Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development hearing on “FY 2022 Budget Request for the S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation.”
    • Wednesday, May 26 at 1pm EST: Subcommittee on Defense hearing on “Defense Environmental Restoration.”

Senate Finance Committee

    • Tuesday, May 25 at 9:30am EST: “Hearing to Consider the Pending Nominations of Lily Lawrence Batchelder to be an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Benjamin Harris to be an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and Jonathan Davidson to be Deputy Under Secretary of the ”
    • Wednesday, May 26 at 2:30pm EST: “Open Executive Session to Consider an Original Bill Entitled The Clean Energy for America ”

House Energy and Commerce Committee

    • Tuesday, May 25 at 11:30am EST: Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change hearing on “The Clean Future Act and Drinking Water: Legislation to Ensure Drinking Water is Safe and Clean.”
  • House Financial Services Committee
    • Tuesday, May 25 at 12pm EST: Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion hearing on “The Legacy of George Floyd: An Examination of Financial Services Industry Commitments to Economic and Racial ”

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

    • Wednesday, May 26 at 9:45am EST: “Business Meeting to consider the following items: Shannon Aneal Estenoz to be Assistant Secretary of Fish and Wildlife and Parks of the Department of the Interior; Radhika Fox to be Assistant Administrator for Water of the Environmental Protection Agency; Michal Ilana Freedhoff to be Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention of the Environmental Protection Agency; 10 General Services Administration Resolutions; and the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021

Senate Appropriations Committee

  • Wednesday, May 26 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Interior, Environment hearing on “Rethinking Resiliency: Budgeting for the Future of Forest Management.”
  • Wednesday, May 26 at 2pm EST: Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science hearing on “A Review of the President’s Fiscal Year 2022 Funding Request for the U.S. Department of ”
  • Wednesday, May 26 at 2pm EST: Subcommittee on Homeland Security hearing on “A Review of the President’s Fiscal Year 2022 Funding Request for the U.S. Department of Homeland ”

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

House Agriculture Committee

    • Wednesday, May 26 at 12pm EST: Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations hearing on “The Future of SNAP: Moving Past the ”

House Oversight and Reform Committee

Senate Agriculture Committee

    • Thursday, May 27 at 9:30am EST: To consider the following nomination: Janie Simms Hipp, of Arkansas, to be General Counsel of the Department of House Judiciary Committee
    • Thursday, May 17 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties hearing on “Oversight of the Voting Rights Act: A Continuing Record of Discrimination”

House Science, Space, and Technology Committee

    • Thursday, May 27 at 1pm EST: Hearing on “Overview of the Science and Energy Research Enterprise of the S. Department of Energy” featuring witness Jennifer Granholm, Secretary of Energy.

Congressional News

  •  On Thursday, the Senate Commerce Committee approved, in a bipartisan voice vote. the nomination of Eric Lander to be the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. In the same hearing, the Committee approved and advanced the nomination of Rick Spinrad for Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • Senator Heinrich [D-NM] introduced the “Schools and State Budgets Certainty Act, with the purpose of ensuring communities, schools, workers and other essential services are provided with needed resources and support during the transition to the clean energy economy. Read NWF’s press release here.
  • This weekend, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released a draft, bipartisan bill calling for $303.5 billion in investments into surface transportation infrastructure, including $350 million for wildlife crossings and billions in climate-targeted investments. See here for NWF’s press release and here for the Committee’s press release. The Committee will mark up the bill on Wednesday, when they will also vote on the nominations of Shannon Estenoz, Michal Freedhoff, and Radhika

Administrative News

  •  The Administration is expected to release a full fiscal year 2022 discretionary budget request later this week. The request is expected to contain specific provisions to enforce a whole-of-government approach to climate change and related issues.
  • Last week, President Biden signed an Executive Order directing federal agencies to consider climate financial risks in economic assessments. See here for President Biden’s comprehensive list of Executive orders to address COVID, the climate crisis, and environmental justice, among other

What’s Happening This Week

  •  This week, the House is in a committee work period, and the Senate is continuing floor consideration of various nominees, including Kristen Clarke to be Assistant Attorney General, as well as continued votes on the Endless Frontiers Act.
  • This week, NWF’s Environmental Justice Team is hosting partners and congressional staff to launch the Clean Economy Coalition of Color (CECC). This event will focus on providing discussion around ensuring federal commitments are realized through an equitable process aimed at building wealth among vulnerable Register here to attend the event on May 26 from 6-8pm EST.
  • The White House has been conducting meetings with bipartisan, bicameral Members of Congress to discuss deals around key infrastructure priorities. We expect movement on, and markup of, a bipartisan surface infrastructure package in the coming in the coming weeks.
  • Senator Heinrich has been circulating a letter calling for investments in natural infrastructure, resilience, and habitat conservation in any upcoming infrastructure package. NWF strongly supports the letter, and urges Senators to sign-on, as the recommendations align with our Restoration and Resilience report – located here and in our press release here.

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DC Legislative Update: May 17-21, 2021

DC Legislative Update: May 17-21, 2021

May 17-21, 2021 

Check here for the 2021 Senate Calendar
Check here for the 2021 House Calendar

Upcoming Congressional Hearings 

  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources
    • Tuesday, May 18 at 10am EST: Hearing to consider pending nominees, including Robert Anderson to be Solicitor of the Department of the Interior; Ms. Shannon A. Estenoz to be Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks; and Ms. Tanya M. Trujillo to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior (Water and Science).
  • House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
    • Tuesday, May 18 at 11am EST: Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics hearing on “NASA’S Earth Science and Climate Change Activities: Current Roles and Future Opportunities.”
    • Wednesday, May 19 at 11am EST: Subcommittee on Energy hearing on “Accelerating Discovery: The Future of Scientific Computing at the Department of Energy ”
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
  • Ways and Means Committee
  • House Energy and Commerce Committee
  • Senate Appropriations Committee
    • Wednesday, May 19 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development “Hearings to examine rethinking disaster recovery and resiliency, focusing on protecting communities and accelerating assistance.”
    • Wednesday, May 19 at 3pm EST: Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs “Hearings to Examine Military Infrastructure and Climate ”
  • Senate Appropriations Committee
    • Wednesday, May 19 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development hearing on “Rethinking Disaster Recovery and Resiliency, Part 2: Protecting Communities and Accelerating ”
    • Wednesday, May 19 at 3pm EST: Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs hearing on “Military Infrastructure and Climate Change.”
  • House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis
  • House Natural Resources Committee
    • Wednesday, May 19 at 1pm EST: Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on “Misuse of Taxpayer Dollars and Corporate Welfare in the Oil and Gas Industry.”
    • Thursday, May 20 at 12pm EST: Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States (SCIP) “Legislative: Hearing on Tribal-Related Legislation – Including RESPECT Act and Stop ”
  • Senate Agriculture Committee
  • Senate Commerce Committee
    • Thursday, May 20 at 10am EST: Executive Session to consider the nomination of Eric S. Lander to be the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). “
    • Thursday, May 20 at 10:15am EST: “Directly following the executive session, the committee will consider the presidential nominations of Pamela A. Melroy to be Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); Carlos A. Monje, Jr. to be Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy; and Richard Spinrad to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.”

Congressional News

  •  On Thursday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, in a bipartisan vote of 18-1, advanced the nomination of Tommy Beaudreau to serve as Deputy Secretary of the Department of the NWF issued this press release calling for swift Senate confirmation.
  • On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 15-7 to advance Todd Kim’s nomination to be Assistant Attorney General. The role will lead the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Watch the hearing here.
  • Last week, Senator Gillibrand [D-NY] and Rep. Clarke [D-NY] introduced the Promoting Energy Alternatives is Key to Emission Reductions Act (PEAKER Act, H.R. 3184/S. 1553). The bill would require the Department of Energy to identify power plants that switch on for peak demand, establish a tax credit for clean energy sources or energy storage that replace these plants, and create a grant program to help communities best meet their energy

Administrative News

  •  The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released a Record of Decision last week, following years of regulatory processes, approving the construction and operation of the Vineyard Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts. See NWF’s press release here, and see here for more on NWF’s offshore wind work.
  • The Administration is expected to release a full fiscal year 2022 discretionary budget request later this month, on May 27. The request is expected to contain specific provisions to enforce an all-of- government approach to climate change and related issues.
  • See here for President Biden’s comprehensive list of Executive orders to address COVID, the climate crisis, and environmental justice, among other

What’s Happening This Week

  •  This week, Senate committees are considering the nomination of various Administration
  • NWF expects continued work around appropriations and budget requests as Congress aims to conclude committee hearings in the coming
  • The White House has been conducting meetings with bipartisan, bicameral Members of Congress to discuss deals around key infrastructure priorities. We expect movement on, and markup of, a larger surface infrastructure package the coming weeks.
  • Senator Heinrich has been circulating a letter calling for investments in natural infrastructure, resilience, and habitat conservation in any upcoming infrastructure package. NWF strongly supports the letter as the recommendations align with our Restoration and Resilience report – located here and in our press release here.

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DC Legislative Update: May 10-14, 2021

DC Legislative Update

May 10-14, 2021

Check here for the 2021 Senate Calendar
Check here for the 2021 House Calendar

Upcoming Congressional Hearings

Senate Agriculture Committee

Senate Rules Committee

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

  • Tuesday, May 11 at 10am EST: Hearing on “Equity in Transportation Infrastructure: Connecting Communities, Removing Barriers, and Repairing Networks across America.”
  • Wednesday, May 12 at 10am EST: Hearing on Interior and EPA Nominees, including Shannon Estenoz to be Assistant Secretary of Fish and Wildlife and Parks of the Department of Interior, Radhika Fox to be Assistant Administrator for Water of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Michal Freedhoff to be Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention of the Environmental Protection

Senate Commerce Committee

House Agriculture Committee

  • Wednesday, May 12 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry hearing on “Title II Conservation Programs: Exploring Climate Smart Practices.”

House Appropriations Committee

House Energy and Commerce Committee

  • Wednesday, May 12 at 10:30am EST: Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing on “The Fiscal Year 2022 HHS ”
  • Thursday, May 13 at 10am EST: Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee hearing on “The Clean Future Act: Superfund Proposals to Advance Cleanups, Equity, and Climate ”

House Natural Resources Committee

  • Wednesday, May 12 at 1pm EST: Office of Insular Affairs hearing on “Legislative Hearing – Insular Cases Resolution.”
  • Thursday, May 13 at 10am EST: Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States
    Subcommittee hearing on “Oversight: Environmental Justice in Indigenous Communities.”
  • Thursday, May 13 at 1pm EST: Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources hearing on “Legislative: Protecting Coastal Communities and Ocean Resources from Offshore Drilling.”

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Congressional News

Last week, Susie Lee [D-NV] introduced the “End Speculative Oil and Gas Leasing Act of 2021” with the purpose of preventing leasing on public lands that have little to no energy development potential. See NWF’s press release here.

On May 4, Rep. Williams [D-GA] introduced the Water Infrastructure Sustainability and Efficiency (WISE) Act to make permanent a requirement that states direct at least 20% of their Clean Water SRF for projects that incorporate the use of green See NWF’s tweet in support here.

On April 30, Rep. Blumenauer’s [D-OR] office announced their support of Rep. Simpson’s new framework on Northwest infrastructure with a focus on investment planning for salmon recovery, jobs, and clean See NWF’s press release here.

Administrative News

Last week, Biden released the administration’s “Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful” 2021 plan – here – laying out a comprehensive ten year plan to restore 30% of national lands and See NWF’s press releases for more:

Biden’s Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful Plan Will Restore Wildlife Habitat, Enhance Sporting Opportunities Historic Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful Plan Prioritizes Collaboration, Restoration, and Job Creation

On Thursday, the Interior Department released a proposal to review the previous administration’s rollbacks, and to restore protections for bird populations, under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The Administration released initial information about the President’s fiscal year 2022 discretionary budget request with specific provisions to highlight the all-of-government approach to climate change and related issues. The full budget request is expected later this month.

See here for President Biden’s comprehensive list of Executive orders to address COVID, the climate crisis, and environmental justice, among other

What’s Happening This Week

NWF expects continued work around appropriations and budget requests as Congress aims to conclude committee hearings in the coming weeks.

The White House is expected to meet this week, and in the coming weeks, with bipartisan, bicameral Members of Congress to discuss deals around key infrastructure priorities.

Senator Heinrich has been circulating a letter calling for investments in natural infrastructure, resilience, and habitat conservation in any upcoming infrastructure package. NWF strongly supports the letter as the recommendations align with our Restoration and Resilience report – located here and in our press release here.

National Wildlife Federation Logo

Funding for Agricultural Conservation Programs Essential to Moving Country to Net-Zero Emissions

Funding for Agricultural Conservation Programs Essential to Moving Country to Net-Zero Emissions

Mike Saccone, National Wildlife Federation, Apr 28, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A broad coalition of 133 conservation, farmer and rancher, sportsmen, and wildlife groups urged the leadership of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate agriculture committees in a letter to ensure the forthcoming infrastructure package includes robust funding for Farm Bill conservation programs and farmer assistance. They specifically urged Congress to double the investment in Farm Bill conservation programs and to ramp up conservation technical assistance funding.

“Increasing baseline funding for the Farm Bill conservation programs and ramping up conservation technical assistance on the ground will enable landowners to mitigate the impacts of drought and flood, improve habitat, improve soil health and long-term food security, create new job opportunities for rural economies, and galvanize the agriculture sector to lead the charge in our fight against climate change,” the organizations wrote in the letter.” We believe farmers, ranchers, and foresters are ready to move agriculture toward net zero emissions if they are provided the tools and resources to make that goal a reality. Action this year on the climate and infrastructure bill represents the best opportunity in decades to meet farmer demand for conservation programs.”

The letter’s signatories are the National Wildlife Federation, Alliance for the Great Lakes, American Farmland Trust, American Fisheries Society, American Grassfed Association, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Arkansas Wildlife Federation, Association of State Floodplain Managers, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Blue Ridge Land Conservancy, California Climate and Agriculture Network, California Farmers Union, Capital Region Land Conservancy, Carbon180, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Center for Rural Affairs, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Chesapeake Conservancy, Clean Fairfax, Climate Land Leaders, Coastal Enterprises, LLC, Colorado Wildlife Federation, Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma, Defenders of Wildlife, Delaware Nature Society, Delaware Valley Ornithological Club, Delta Waterfowl, E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), Earthjustice, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Environmental Working Group, Florida Wildlife Federation, Inc., Food and Agriculture Committee, Sierra Club, Atlantic Chapter, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Foodshed Capital, Friends of the Mississippi River, Gallatin Valley Land Trust, Georgia Wildlife Federation, Goose Creek Association, Harpeth Conservancy, Hawaii Farmers Union United, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association, Healthy Gulf, Heart of the Rockies Initiative, Idaho Wildlife Federation, Illinois Council of Trout Unlimited, Indiana Wildlife Federation, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Iowa Environmental Council, Iowa Wildlife Federation, Izaak Walton League of America, Kalmiopsis Audubon Society, Kansas Wildlife Federation, Land For Good, Land Trust Alliance, League of Conservation Voters, Louisiana Wildlife Federation, Maine Farmland Trust, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Maryland Bird Conservation Partnership, Maryland Ornithological Society, Mass Audubon, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, Michigan Farmers Union, Minnesota Conservation Federation, Minnesota Farmers Union, Mississippi River Trust, Mississippi Wildlife Federation, Missouri Farmers Union, Montana Organic Association, Montana Wildlife Federation, National Association of Conservation Districts, National Audubon Society, National Center for Appropriate Technology, National Deer Association, National Farmers Union, National Organic Coalition, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, National Young Farmers Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council, NatureServe, Nebraska Farmers Union, Nebraska Wildlife Federation, Neighboring Food Co-op Association, Nevada Wildlife Federation, New England Farmers Union, North American Grouse Partnership, North Dakota Farmers Union, North Dakota Wildlife Federation, Northeast Organic Farming Association-Interstate Council, Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, Northwest Farmers Union, Ohio Conservation Federation, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Oregon Climate and Agriculture Network, Organic Farmers Association, Organic Farming Research Foundation, Pasa Sustainable Agriculture, PennFuture, Pesticide Action Network, Pollinator Partnership, Prairie Rivers Network, Quivira Coalition, Rockbridge Area Conservation Council, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Rural Coalition, Salem Audubon Society, Savanna Institute, Saving Birds Thru Habitat, Sierra Club, Slow Food USA, Sociedad Ornitologica Puertorriquena, Soil and Water Conservation Society, South Carolina Wildlife Federation, South Dakota Wildlife Federation, Texas Conservation Alliance, The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Trout Unlimited, Union of Concerned Scientists, Unitarian Universalist Church of Roanoke, Utah Wildlife Federation, Virginia Association for Biological Farming, Virginia Conservation Network, Waterkeepers Chesapeake, Western Landowners Alliance, Wild Farm Alliance, Wildlife Mississippi, Wisconsin Farmers Union, Wyoming Wildlife Federation, and Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

DC Legislative Update April 19-23, 2021

 

NWF Legislative Update April 19-23, 2021

Check here for the 2021 Senate Calendar
Check here for the 2021 House Calendar

Congressional Hearings 

  • House Appropriations Committee
    • Tuesday, April 20 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Interior, Environment hearing on the “Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Request for the Department of the Interior.”
  • Tuesday, April 20 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Labor, Human Health, Education hearing on “Building Capacity, Building Community: Increasing Investments in Community Colleges.”
  • Wednesday, April 21 at 10am EST: Subcommittee on Interior, Environment hearing on the “Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Request for the Environmental Protection Agency.”
  • Wednesday, April 21 at 2pm EST: Subcommittee on Transportation, House and Urban Development hearing on “Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Request for the Department of Housing and Urban ”
  • House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis
    • Tuesday, April 20 at 12pm EST: Hearing on “Making the Case for Climate Action: Creating New Jobs and Catalyzing Economic Growth.”
  • House Natural Resources Committee
    • Tuesday, April 20 at 2:30pm EST: Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources hearing, “Building Back Better: Reducing Pollution and Creating Jobs Through Offshore Wind.”
  • Senate Appropriations Committee
    • Tuesday, April 20 at 10:30am EST: “Hearings to examine the American Jobs Plan, focusing on infrastructure, climate change, and investing in our nation’s ”
  • House Appropriations Committee
    • Tuesday, April 20 at 10:30am EST: Hearing on “The American Jobs Plan: Infrastructure, Climate Change, and Investing in Our Nation’s ”
      • Witnesses include Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation, Regan, Administrator of the EPA, Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce, and Fudge, Secretary of HUD
    • Wednesday, April 21 at 2pm EST: Subcommittee hearing on “Fiscal Year 2022 Budget ”
  • House Foreign Affairs Committee
    • Tuesday, April 20 at 2pm EST: Subcommittee on Europe, Energy, the Environment and Cyber hearing on “Restoration of the Transatlantic Dialogue: The Global Fight Against Climate Change.”
  • Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
    • Wednesday, April 21 at 10am EST: Hearing to “consider the presidential nominations of Bill Nelson to be National Aeronautics and Space Administration Administrator and Lina Khan to be a Commissioner of the Federal Trade ”
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
    • Wednesday, April 21 at 11am EST: Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment hearing on “Sustainable Wastewater Infrastructure: Measures to Promote Resiliency and Climate Adaptation and ”
  • Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee
    • Wednesday, April 21: Meeting to consider the nominations of Julie Su for Deputy Secretary of Labor, Cynthia Marten for Deputy Secretary of Education and James Kvaal for Undersecretary of
  • Senate Agriculture Committee

Congressional News 

  • On April 14, the Senate, in a bipartisan vote of 53-45, confirmed Brenda Mallory to serve as Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. Mallory’s confirmation will ensure CEQ prioritizes environmental justice, climate, and policies that support people and wildlife. See NWF’s press release here.
  • Last week, Senators Luján (D-N.M.) and Cramer (R-N.D.) introduced the Revive Economic Growth and Reclaim Orphaned Wells (REGROW) Act of 2021. The bill focuses on clean-up of orphaned oil and gas wells and is a focus of NWF’s Public Land’s fly-in. See NWF’s press release here.

Administrative News  

  • On April 15, NWF and 15,000 members submitted public comments to the Department of Interior in response to their request for information on needs to reform the US oil and gas leasing system. See NWF’s press release here for more on the submission.
  • On April 16, Secretary Haaland issued secretarial orders to ensure widespread, improved management of public lands with a focus on climate Read NWF’s press release here.
  • The Administration released initial information about the President’s fiscal year 2022 discretionary budget request with specific provisions to highlight the all-of-government approach to climate change and related issues. The full budget request is expected later this spring. See the White House’s notice here.
  • See here for President Biden’s comprehensive list of Executive orders to address COVID, the climate crisis, and environmental justice, among other topics.

What’s happening this week? 

  • On Monday, President Biden is expected to meet with a bipartisan and bicameral group of Senators and Representatives, all former Governors and Mayors, to discuss the American Jobs Plan. NWF is working with Members and their staff to conduct virtual meetings, emphasizing recommendations from our Restoration and Resilience report – located here and in our press release here,
  • This week, the Senate is expected to consider and vote on the nomination of Lisa Monaco for Deputy Attorney General and the nomination of Gary Gensler to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • The Senate is expected to vote this week on The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted unanimously last week to report the bill out of committee, see here for their press release.
  • Last Monday, the National Wildlife Federation, Atlantic Council Global Energy Center, and Reimagine Appalachia hosted a successful congressional briefing to discuss the role of climate infrastructure investments in Appalachia. Watch the briefing here.
  • NWF’s Public Lands team is continuing their virtual fly-in, hosting staff and affiliates in meetings with Members and their staff to discuss legislative and restoration and resilience priorities as part of upcoming legislation and larger infrastructure packages.

National Wildlife Federation Logo

DC Legislative Update April 12-16, 2021

DC Legislative Update

April 12-16, 2021

Check here for the 2021 Senate Calendar
Check here for the 2021 House Calendar

Congressional Hearings

  • House Natural Resources Committee
    • Tuesday, April 13 at 1pm EST: Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States legislative hearing on the “Save Oak Flat Act”
    • Thursday, April 15 at 2pm EST: Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources hearing on “Building Back Better: Creating Jobs and Reducing Pollution by Plugging and Reclaiming Orphaned Wells”
  • Senate Appropriations Committee
    • Tuesday, April 13 at 2pm EST: Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies hearing “to examine the President’s proposed budget estimates for fiscal year 2022 for the National Science Foundation and securing US Competitiveness.”
    • Wednesday, April 14 at 2pm EST: Subcommittee on Homeland Security hearing on “The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response to COVID-19 and other challenges”
  • Senate Homeland Security Committee
  • House Appropriations Committee
  • House Financial Services Committee
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
    • Wednesday, April 14 at 10am EST: “Business meeting to consider S.914, to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to reauthorize programs under those Acts; to be immediately followed by a hearing to examine the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund, focusing on lessons learned from the Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives Program and other user-based revenue solutions, and how funding uncertainty affects the highway programs.”
  • Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
  • House Energy and Commerce Committee
    • Thursday, April 15 at 10:30am EST: Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change hearing on “The CLEAN Future Act and Environmental Justice: Protecting Frontline Communities.” Other pieces of legislation under consideration include H.R. 501, the “Climate Smart Ports Act,” and H.R. 862, the “Climate Action Planning for Ports Act of 2021.”

Congressional News

  •  On March 26, Congress passed a bipartisan, NWF supported resolution from Senators Portman & Hirono designating April as National Native Plants Patrick Fitzgerald, NWF’s Senior Director of Community Wildlife, provided a quote for the Senators’ press release, see here.
  • On April 1, Senators Coons, Heinrich, and Lujan introduced a bill to create a 21st-century Civilian Climate Corps that aims to employ millions of young Americans to restore and protect public lands and waters. See NWF’s press release here
  • On March 25, Senator Markey and Congresswoman Dingell introduced the Climate Change Education Act to expand NOAA’s climate change education The link to NWF’s press release is here.
  • On March 24 the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted unanimously to advance the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act which seeks to expand nation-wide access to clean drinking water. See here for NWF’s press

Administrative News

  •  On March 31, the Biden administration released a jobs and infrastructure plan to “Create Jobs, Resilient Communities, [and a] ‘Visionary’ Civilian Climate ” See NWF’s press release here.
  • The Executive Branch has turned focus to offshore wind by committing to work with stakeholders and partners to protect wildlife and advance environmental justice on future projects. See here for NWF’s Twitter
  • Last week, the Administration released their fiscal year 2022 discretionary budget request with specific provisions to highlight the all-of-government approach to climate change and related See the White House’s notice here.
  • See here for President Biden’s comprehensive list of Executive orders to address COVID, the climate crisis, and environmental justice, among other

What’s happening this week?

  •  On Monday, April 12 at 4pm EST the National Wildlife Federation, Atlantic Council Global Energy Center, and Reimagine Appalachia are hosting a congressional briefing to discuss the role of climate infrastructure investments in Appalachia.
  • This and next week, NWF’s Public Lands team is hosting staff and affiliates in a virtual fly-in to discuss legislative and restoration and resilience priorities as part of upcoming legislation and larger infrastructure
  • NWF expects a Senate confirmation vote on Brenda Mallory to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality early this Mallory’s confirmation was advanced on March 24 following an 11-9 vote from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
  • Congress is turning attention to address surface and natural infrastructure priorities, appropriations, and reconciliation. NWF will continue working with Members and conducting virtual meetings, emphasizing organizational recommendations from our newest Restoration and Resilience report – located here and in our press release here,

National Wildlife Federation Logo

SB 389: Indiana Wetlands Need Your Help Again

The Quick Version: “Pass it clean in the second reading”

Contact your IN House Rep before Monday, April 12, 2021 with the message:

“Pass SB389 House Committee version clean (with no new amendments) in the April 12 House Environmental Affairs Committee second reading.”

The Full Explainer:

There is both good news and bad news on the wetlands bill, SB 389.  The good news is that on April 7 the House Environmental Affairs Committee significantly amended the Senate version of SB 389 to protect most wetlands by adopting Amendment 24.  The bad news is that some wetlands will lose protection.

In further good news, Representative Errington will be offering an amendment on the House floor to replace what’s currently in SB 389 with language creating a Wetland Task Force to examine state wetland policy. Sadly, we do not anticipate there will be enough support for this good amendment to pass.

A number of Indiana’s strongest conservation organizations have carefully assessed all of the remaining options to try to improve the bill and also carefully gauged the strength of the wetland de-regulation faction of lawmakers at the Statehouse and concluded that, if the Errington Wetlands Task Force amendment fails, the House committee version is the best wetlands language we will be able to get in the 2021 legislative session.

Why would we support a bill that is still bad for wetlands?

Well we don’t, but if the House Environmental Affairs Committee version does not pass, we will likely get something much, much worse.  Many legislators (in both the House and Senate) are in favor of seriously weakening state protections of wetlands. At the next step in the process (second reading), either the Senate passed version of SB 389 bill, which repeals the wetlands law, or an amendment like #19, which is very close to a repeal, will become the final bill.  Please see the table below for a detailed comparison of the Senate version, Amendment 19, and the House committee version.

Therefore, the Indiana Wildlife Federation takes the following positions and urges our supporters to contact their state representatives with the following four requests:

1.) Support Representative Errington’s amendment to replace SB 389 with a Wetland Task Force.

2.) If the Wetland Task Force amendment fails, support the House Environmental Committee version of SB 389.  The committee version, but no further! Pass it clean, with no amendments in the second reading.

3.) Oppose Amendment 19 to SB 389 or any other anti-wetlands floor amendments. Pass it clean, with no amendments in second reading.

4.) Oppose the Senate version of SB 389 (full repeal).

 

Reaching your lawmakers about the above four calls-to-action is crucial to making sure that the House Environmental Committee’s version of SB 389 survives a House floor vote — and the far more damaging version, Amendment 19 (or its equivalent) — does not replace it.  You can reach your lawmakers by going to bitly.com/INLegis.

Great Lakes Conservation Coalition: New Study Models Threat of Invasive Carp to Great Lakes Food Web

Nearshore and shallow bays are at most risk

by Drew YoungeDyke, National Wildlife Federation

A recent study published by the American Fisheries Society models the impacts that invasive carp would have on the food webs of the Great Lakes, predicting significant impacts on Lake Erie, Saginaw Bay, and other bays, river mouths, and nearshore areas. This study comes at a time when movement has occurred on the plans to keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes, yet much remains to be done.

JUMP TO Great Lakes Conservation Coalition Blog to continue reading…

 

 

Great Lakes Conservation CoaltionAbout Great Lakes Conservation Coalition

The Great Lakes Conservation Coalition is an informal affiliation of conservation groups, including the Indiana Wildlife Federation, working in the Great Lakes region and collectively representing millions of hunters and anglers. Working together, we help advance solutions to the conservation challenges threatening our fish, wildlife, and outdoor heritage.

Over 70 Indiana Conservation Organizations Oppose SB389 Wetlands Repeal Bill

The saga of the anti-wetlands bill, SB 389 continues.  It looks like all of the messages to House leadership have had an effect.  Many thanks to the more than 70 organizations that have joined the sign-on letter!

VIEW FACTSHEET SIGN-ON LETTER HERE

We learned Thursday that the House Environmental Affairs Committee will not be meeting Monday, April 5th, as originally planned.  Instead, the House Republican caucus will be debating SB 389 internally before deciding next steps to take, if any.  We understand that the House Democratic caucus is opposed to SB 389, but hearing from their constituents who support their position will help.

Please, do all you can to get messages to your state representative before Monday asking them to vote against SB 389 or any amendment to SB 389 that reduces wetland protection.  It would be helpful if you know of any local flooding, water quality, groundwater recharge, or lake sediment problems and can mention how those expensive problems will increase if wetlands are lost.  Examples from within their districts really help sway legislators.

Anyone who needs to can find their state representative and contact information at

http://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/

DC Legislative Update March 22-26, 2021

Congressional Hearings

Check here for the 2021 Senate Calendar
Check here for the 2021 House Calendar

  • House Budget Committee
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
    • Tuesday, March 23 at 11am EST: Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment hearing on  “The Water Resources Development Act of 2020: Status of Essential Provisions.”
  • House Natural Resources Committee
    • Tuesday, March 23: Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands hearing on “Building Back Better: Examining the Future of America’s Public ”
    • Wednesday, March 24: Hearing on “How the Biden Administration’s Build Back Better Plan Can Benefit the S. Territories.”
  • House Energy and Commerce Committee
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
    • Wednesday, March 24 at 9:30am EST: Business Meeting to consider the nomination of Brenda Mallory for Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality and Janet McCabe to be Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The meeting will also consider “The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure ”
  • Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
    • Wednesday, March 24 at 10am EST: Hearing on “Driving the Road to Recovery: Rebuilding America’s Transportation Infrastructure” to examine surface transportation infrastructure needs across the Agenda will also cover the nomination of Polly Trottenberg to be Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation.
  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
  • Senate Homeland Security Committee
    • Thursday, March 25 at 10:15am EST: Hearing on the “Nomination of Deanne Criswell to be  Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

Congressional News

  •  Last week, NWF hosted 13 state affiliates including Emily Wood, executive director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation, in a virtual fly-in focused on our agriculture priorities, including on the upcoming Farm Bill and conserving grasslands. The team conducted 32 Hill meetings with both congressional staff and Members of Congratulations and thank you to all that helped organize, lead, and participate!
  • Last week, the Senate, on a bipartisan vote of 54-42, confirmed Deb Haaland to be Secretary of the Interior. NWF and affiliates have led the way in supporting this historic nomination – she is the first Indigenous cabinet secretary – and are excited to partner with the new Secretary and the Department to advance wildlife conservation and public lands See here for NWF’s press release.
  • Last week, Representatives DeFazio, Napolitano and Fitzpatrick introduced the bipartisan “Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021” See NWF’s press release here.
  • Last week, Representatives Grijalva and McEachin introduced the “Environmental Justice for All Act” with the purpose of addressing and promoting environmental justice while supporting and empowering frontline communities as the US transitions to a clean energy See here for the House Natural Resources press release and here for NWF’s press release.
  • Senators Coons and Cassidy and Representatives Veasey and McKinley introduced the “Storing CO2 And Lowering Emissions (SCALE) ” This bill focuses on carbon capture and storage to invest billions in connecting CO2 emitters and storage sites. The bill serves as a pivotal step in the US’ path to reaching net- zero emissions by 2050.

Administrative News

  •  Last Tuesday, 116 Democratic members sent a bicameral letter to President Biden in support of his Executive order on 30×30. Republicans also sent a letter on the order, see here for more. Check out NWF’s January press release on the administration’s 30×30
  • See here for President Biden’s comprehensive list of Executive orders to address COVID, the climate crisis, and environmental justice, among other topics.

What’s happening this week?

  •  Last Monday, NWF hosted a – very successful – virtual Hill briefing on “Mapping Climate & Environmental Justice: Lessons Learned from State Tools.” On Monday March 22, NWF will be hosting the second webinar in the series focused on “Lessons Learned from Local & Regional ” The purpose of this series is to highlight environmental justice mapping tools and their potential in furthering environmental and climate justice. Register to attend today’s 4pm EST briefing here.
  • The House is in recess for the coming weeks, and we expect the Senate to focus on Biden cabinet nominations:
    • Last week, the Senate voted 98-0 to confirm Katherine Tai as the S. Trade Representative.
    • Last week, Sarah Bianchi was confirmed in a 50-49 vote to be Secretary of Homeland
    • Marty Walsh’s nomination for Secretary of Labor, passed on a cloture vote of 68-30. The final vote on confirmation is expected to occur on Monday.
    • This week, the Senate will consider David Turk to be deputy Energy secretary. Turk received a 20-0 vote out of
    • We anticipate the Senate will vote this week on the nomination of Shalanda Young for Director of the Office of Management and
  • Congress is turning attention, and creating hearings, to address surface and natural infrastructure priorities. NWF will continue working with Members and conducting virtual meetings, emphasizing organizational recommendations from our newest Restoration and Resilience report – located here and in our press release here.

Report compiled by National Wildlife Federation.

 

Call to Action: Oppose SB389 – Repeal of wetlands protections.

A swiftly-moving (updated) disaster

[Updated Mon. Mar 22, 2021] – Over the weekend, the House Environmental Affairs committee decided against hearing Amendment 11 due to pushback (keep calling/emailing/tagging!) and that they would be working on Amendment 12. It was posted late on Sunday with less than 12 hours to review before the hearing.  Here is Amendment 12.

While there has not been adequate time to review the impacts of the amendment, it is still clearly going to cause major losses to Indiana wetlands. We recommend the same action of reaching out to your state legislators to “Oppose SB389 as a dangerous bill for water quality, wildlife, habitats, and flooding. [End update]

Although Indiana legislators promised to allow a full week for organizations like IWF the time to understand and react to a proposed amendment to SB389 (a full repeal of protections for all state regulated wetlands in Indiana), we now only have the weekend. Despite weeks of negotiation by IDEM and numerous legislators that promised there would be a reasonable compromise; the House Environmental Affairs Committee is going to take up an amendment to the bill that will gut Indiana’s wetlands law. They will meet Monday, March 22, at 10:30 AM.

What’s in Amendment 11?

(SEE FULL AMENDMENT LANGUAGE) | (SEE FULL DETAIL IN BILL TRACKER)

Amendment 11 will lead to loss of much of Indiana’s remaining wetlands. It allows destruction of:

• all Class I wetlands
• up to one acre of Class II or Class III if they are within the borders of a municipality.
• up to 1/2 acre of Class II and 1/4 acre of Class III outside municipalities
• wetlands that are on cropland sold for development
• ephemeral streams

It also greatly reduces the wetland mitigation ratios and it increases the amount of wetland that can be destroyed when there are several wetlands involved in the same development project. Here is a table to illustrate how Amendment 11 weakens existing wetlands protections:

Amendment 11  Existing law 
Exempts all Class I wetlands Exempts ½ acre
Exempts ½ acre of Class II Exempts ¼ acre
Exempts ¼ acre of Class III No exemption
Exempts 1 acre of Class II or III within a municipality No exemption
Enlarges cumulative exemption when there is >1 wetland on a property
Exempts dredge and fill activities in ephemeral streams
Allows wetland destruction for development on cropland that was farmed any time in the last 5 years
Reduces mitigation ratios
IDEM’s time to issue wetland permit 90 days 120 days

If SB 389 passes in its current form or with Amendment 11, Indiana will pay a high price in increased flooding, lost groundwater recharge, lost water purification, and loss of endangered and threatened species. Please do all you can before Monday to tell your legislators, especially members on the House Environmental Affairs Committee to save Indiana’s remaining wetlands by opposing SB 389 and opposing Amendment 11.

You can contact your legislator by finding them here.

You can also send a pre-drafted email to your legislator by using this form graciously created for us by the National Wildlife Federation Water Action Team.

Mulch Madness with Musselman Landscape

Beautify your backyard habitats and landscapes with mulch and support the Indiana Wildlife Federation throughout the ENTIRE year!

When you purchase any landscape products from Musselman Landscape Solutions throughout the year, mention IWF in any way, and we will receive 10% of your sale! See if there is a Musselman near you: you can shop online at MusselmanLandscape.com using our code at checkout. CODE: IWF

mulch to support indiana wildlife federation

DC Legislative Update March 15-19, 2021

Congressional News

  • Last week, the Senate held multiple, bipartisan votes to confirm Biden administration cabinet nominees, including:
    • The Senate voted 66-34 to confirm Marcia Fudge as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
    • The Senate voted 70-30 to confirm Merrick Garland for attorney
    • The Senate voted 66-34 to confirm Michel Regan as Administer of the EPA.
    • Last week the Senate passed a cloture vote of 54-42 to advance Deb Haaland’s nomination for Secretary of the Interior. We expect a final vote on her confirmation Monday, March 15.
  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 20-0 to advance the nomination of David Turk to be Deputy Secretary of
  • The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and Senate Budget Committee both voted 7-6 and 14-8, respectively, to advance Shalanda Young’s nomination to be Deputy Director of the
  • The House, on a vote of 225-206 passed the “Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) ”
  • Last week, Representative Cartwright introduced the bipartisan RECLAIM Act to help recover abandoned coal mine sites for community redevelopment, wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreation opportunities. See NWF’s press release here. The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on this topic this
  • Last week, Senators Rosen and Grassley filed bipartisan legislation, the “Fair Returns for Public Lands Act,” to update the oil and gas leasing system to ensure companies pay fair market price. See NWF’s press release here. Relatedly, Tracy Stone-Manning testified before the House Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday at a hearing on several energy development modernization bills. You can view that hearing here.
  • Last week, Senators Whitehouse, Booker, and Schatz introduced the “Methane Emissions Reduction Act of 2021” NWF’s Shannon Heyck-Williams, director of climate and energy policy, was highlighted on the press release here, stating “Methane is one of the most potent drivers of the climate crisis, and Senator Whitehouse’s bill will help reduce oil and gas methane emissions through rigorous tracking, public disclosure, and pollution

These common-sense reforms will buy us some time to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions throughout the economy. This proposal deserves close consideration in Congress.”

Administrative News

 See here for President Biden’s comprehensive list of Executive orders to address COVID, the climate crisis, and environmental justice, among other topics.

  • The administration heeded the widespread request, highlighted in NWF’s affiliate letter, and scrapped the legal opinion that would have limited the Migratory Bird Treaty Act’s protections. The Interior Department is expected to issue a new proposal to revoke the rule that was based on that
  • Last week, BOEM issued a final environmental review of the Vineyard Wind project, see NWF’s release here.

What’s happening this week?

  •  Last week, the House approved, and President Biden signed into law, the final $1.9 trillion relief package titled the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.” The Act, among a host of other positive provisions, will invest in preventing future wildlife-disease See here for NWF’s most recent press release.
  • This week, NWF is hosting partners and affiliates in a virtual fly-in focused on NWF’s agriculture priorities, including the upcoming Farm Bill and conserving We anticipate meetings with a large number of staff and Members of Congress!
  • Now that Congress has passed the COVID reconciliation package, we anticipate Hill discussion and committee work on surface and natural infrastructure priorities. To that end, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats released legislation last week titled the “Leading Infrastructure For Tomorrow’s America Act” (LIFT America Act) calling for investments in the nation’s electric grid, drinking water infrastructure and energy efficiency as part of a larger, $312 billion NWF will continue conducting virtual meetings, emphasizing organizational recommendations from our newest Restoration and Resilience report – located here and in NWF press release here.
  • The House will take up bills to honor Women’s History Month, including H.R. 1620, the” Violence Against Women ” The House will consider H.J.Res. 17 to remove the deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment as well as consider two bills to address immigration reform: H.R. 6, the “American Dream and Promise Act,” and H.R. 1603, the “Farm Workforce Modernization Act.”

National Wildlife Federation Logo

DC Legislative Update March 8-12, 2021

DC Legislative Update from the National Wildlife Federation
March 8-12, 2021

Check here for the 2021 Senate Calendar
Check here for the 2021 House Calendar

Congressional News
• Last week, the Senate voted to confirm multiple Biden administration cabinet nominees, including:

  • The Senate voted 84-15 to confirm Gina Raimondo as Secretary of Commerce. In her new role, Raimondo will focus on, among other priorities, managing ocean fisheries and climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.

• The Senate Energy Committee held a bipartisan vote of 11-9 to advance Rep. Deb Haaland’s nomination to Secretary of the Interior to the Senate Floor. See NWF’s press release here urging for swift floor confirmation.

• The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 15-7 to advance the nomination of Merrick Garland for attorney general.

• The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on the nominations of Brenda Mallory to serve as Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (see NWF’s press release here) and Janet McCabe to be Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Votes on the nominees are expected soon.

• Early last week, Representative Pallone introduced the “Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s Future Act” also known as the “CLEAN Future Act.” The bill demonstrated the Energy and Commerce Committee’s commitment to legislation that addresses emission reduction, racial and environmental justice, and a clean economy.

  • Last Tuesday, Senators Daines, Manchin, and Stabenow introduced a bipartisan bill to revive the 48C Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit. The bill seeks to dedicate significant investment to support coal communities as the nation transitions to clean power priorities. See NWF’s statement of support here.

• Last Wednesday, the House voted to pass H.R.1, the “For the People Act of 2021.” The bill demonstrates Congress’ commitment to addressing the long-running inequities in our political system in order to create a functioning, healthy democracy. See NWF’s blog in support of the bill here.

Administrative News
• Last week the administration met with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders to focus on upcoming infrastructure needs. At the same time, NWF has been conducting virtual meetings to discuss priorities around a sweeping infrastructure package that will seek to address surface and larger natural infrastructure needs, incorporating priorities from our newest Restoration and Resilience report – located here and in our press release here.

• See here for President Biden’s comprehensive list of Executive orders to address COVID, the climate crisis, and environmental justice, among other topics.

What’s happening this week?
• Last week, the House passed H.R.1319, their version of the budget reconciliation package titled the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021,” to address President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan. Over the weekend the Senate voted 50-49 to pass the bill which now goes back to the House for a vote, expected this week, on final passage. See NWF’s press release here.

• This week, the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed is hosting a virtual fly-in focused on protecting and restoring the Delaware River Basin.

• We expect the Senate to schedule floor votes on President Biden’s cabinet nominations for later this week, including votes on Marcia Fudge, Merrick Garland, and a cloture vote on Michael Regan and Deb Haaland.

• The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Senate Energy and Natural Resources announced their rosters of subcommittee leaders, see the full list for EPW here and proposed ENR list here.

National Wildlife Federation Logo

 

Biden Administration Reverses Rollback of Migratory Bird Protections

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Biden administration has taken an important step in protecting bird species by scrapping a controversial legal opinion that gutted the Migratory Bird Treaty Act’s protections for hundreds of species of migratory birds. The Interior Department is expected to soon issue a new proposal to revoke the rule based on that interpretation – which was ruled illegal by a court in a lawsuit brought by the National Wildlife Federation and other organizations.

“This bedrock law was designed to protect North America’s birds — whose populations have declined by 3 billion since 1970 — from harm, whether intentional or not,” said Mike Leahy, director of wildlife, hunting and fishing policy at the National Wildlife Federation. “We are extremely grateful to the Biden administration for righting this historic wrong and returning protections to America’s migratory birds. It is vital we safeguard these species and authorize a common-sense permitting approach to avoid further declines so that we may experience birds like whooping cranes and canvasback ducks for generations to come.”

Last week, the National Wildlife Federation and 29 of its state and territorial affiliates submitted a comment letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service thanking them for delaying implementation of the controversial rule, and asking the administration to move forward with a new rulemaking process.

Contact: Anna Vecchio, National Wildlife Federation, VecchioA@NWF.org, 202-797-6662

IWF Board President Rick Cockrum delivers virtual remarks for the 2021 Conservation Champion Award.

2021 Conservation Champion Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ­­– The Indiana Wildlife Federation (IWF) is pleased to recognize two prominent members of the Indiana General Assembly for their longstanding commitment to conservation and natural resources.

State Representative Carey Hamilton (D-Indianapolis) and State Senator Michael Crider (R-Greenfield) are the recipients of the IWF’s annual Conservation Champion award.

This unique honor was established to recognize Indiana lawmakers for their efforts to preserve the state’s outdoor heritage for future generations of Hoosiers.

Rep. Hamilton recently spearheaded the launch of a bipartisan Indiana Legislative Trails Caucus tasked with growing and maintaining Indiana’s many trails and greenways. She has also been a leader in Indiana’s recycling and clean energy efforts.

Sen. Crider, a former conservation officer for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, has championed efforts at the statehouse to keep our parks and outdoor recreation areas accessible for all Hoosiers.

Both lawmakers have demonstrated a clear commitment to conservation as well as the economic and community benefits that accompany it.

The awards were announced on January 30, 2021 during the IWF’s virtual wildlife conference.

Oppose SB389 – An Urgent Call To Action

We are so thankful to the many IWF members and others who have been so active in their opposition to this concerning legislation.  Unfortunately, this bill is being pushed through the legislative process very rapidly and so we are reaching out to you again with an urgent call-to-action.  Please consider contacting your representative as soon as possible, asking them to oppose SB 389.

Indiana Senate Bill 389 repeals the law requiring a permit from the Department of Environmental Management for wetland activity in a state-regulated wetland, removing protections for isolated wetlands in Indiana.

Rushed through without due care or consideration. 
On Thursday, 1/28/21, SB 389 went through a second reading in the State Senate. A proposed amendment (which had bipartisan support) to send the issue to an interim study committee was defeated by a vote of 19 to 29. The study committee would have enabled some of the many consequences of SB389 to have been properly considered.  With this amendment defeated, the bill now moves on unaltered, and it is possible that there may be a vote on whether or not to pass SB 389 as soon as Monday, February 1st. This rush to push the bill through so quickly and without careful consideration of the impacts is a real cause for concern.

As Indra Frank, Director of Environmental Health and Water Policy for the Hoosier Environmental Council, wrote in her testimony to the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee: “Many of the repercussions of SB 389 are uncertain. We don’t have a solid estimate of the number of acres covered by the Isolated Wetlands Law, so we don’t know for certain how many acres of wetlands would be in jeopardy. We know that wetlands absorb excess stormwater, but we don’t know how much additional flooding will result from the loss of this law or where that flooding will be. We know that wetlands recharge groundwater, but we don’t know how much groundwater recharge we will lose if this passes or where that loss will be.…This bill has raised a plethora of issues….It would be better to sort through these issues more thoroughly and working on solutions rather than throwing out the entire wetlands law. Passing SB 389 and eliminating the wetlands law may make life easier for developers, but it will create heavy costs for the rest of society and for the other species with whom we share this land.”

Why are wetlands so important?

Wetlands are critically important.  They are among the world’s most productive ecosystems, comparable to rain forests and coral reefs. In the USA as a whole, nearly 35 percent of all rare and endangered animal species depend on wetlands for survival, although wetlands cover only around 5 percent of the land.  In Indiana, more than 60 wetland-dependent animal species are of special conservation concern, while more than 120 species of wetland plants in Indiana are considered to be endangered, threatened, or rare. The Indiana Native Plant Society estimates that over one third of Indiana’s flora, an estimated 888 species, grow in wetlands, showing the critical importance of this habitat.

Wetlands also play key roles in the hydrologic and biogeochemical cycles, providing incredibly valuable ecosystem services which directly impact human health and economics.  They play a major role in maintaining water quality, removing or retaining excess organic and inorganic nutrients (for example from septic system runoff and fertilizers), trapping pollutants (including some heavy metals), and filtering sediments – wetlands with emergent plants can remove up to 95% of the sediments from floodwaters.

Wetlands also play a vital role in floodwater storage, protecting human health and safety and reducing costs associated with flood damage and stormwater management, a sentiment excellently summed up by Indra Frank of HEC, “All in all, wetlands are the most cost effective stormwater management infrastructure there is”.

This crucially important service will become increasingly valuable – since 1895, average annual precipitation in Indiana has increased by about 15%; this trend is projected to continue, while heavy precipitation events are expected to intensify as temperatures rise as a result of climate change.  Additionally, wetlands play a role in atmospheric maintenance and help to moderate global climatic conditions, while clearing, draining and filling wetlands releases carbon dioxide.

Ok, so Indiana’s wetlands are important…but aren’t they still protected under Federal law?

Unfortunately, legislation regarding wetland protection has not been straightforward, and correspondence with Representatives appears to indicate that there is some confusion on this issue even among those who will be entrusted with voting on SB389.

Though wetlands in the U.S. have historically been covered by the 1972 Clean Water Act (CWA), a lack of clarity in the language used in this Act, legal disagreements over exactly which waters were defined as ‘waters of the United States’, and subsequent Supreme Court decisions have put vital wetland ecosystems at significant risk.

In response to the lack of clarity about the scope of the CWA and following concerns after Supreme Court rulings in 2001 and 2006 weakened or withdrew federal protection for millions of acres of wetlands, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers put forward the Clean Water Rule (also called the Waters of the United States Rule) in 2015. This rule extended existing federal protections of large bodies of water to smaller bodies that flow into them (those with a ‘significant nexus’ to navigable waters), including rivers, small waterways, intermittent streams and wetlands.  However, with court challenges from a number of states and several industry groups, the rule was stayed nationwide by the U.S. Court of Appeals.  In February, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order directing the EPA and the Department of the Army to review and rescind or revise the 2015 Rule.  The 2015 Rule was repealed by the Trump administration in 2019, and in 2020 it was replaced with the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

The Navigable Waters Protection Rule has stripped more than half of US wetlands of Federal protections and loosened regulation further.  While major water bodies remain protected, there is no longer a Federal requirement for a permit to drain or discharge pollution into ephemeral streams and wetlands or ‘isolated’ wetlands – those that don’t have a regular surface connection to a larger, protected water body.  According to the Audubon Society, the water bodies no longer protected include some of the most important bird habitat on the continent.  Many of these ephemeral and isolated wetlands play critical roles in watersheds and in habitat provision.  ‘Isolated’ is also a bit of misleading term – while these wetlands may not have clear surface connections, they are often linked to other water bodies through the water table.

In Indiana, the Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) estimates that more than one-third of the state’s 800,000 acres of wetlands may be classified as isolated, including globally rare dune and swale wetland complexes.

Thankfully, many of these isolated wetlands in Indiana have, until now at least, still been afforded protection at the State level.  Isolated wetlands are considered Waters of the State and are regulated under Indiana’s State Isolated Wetlands law (Indiana Code 13-18-22), and impacts to isolated wetlands currently require State Isolated Wetland Permits from IDEM.  There are many exemptions to the Isolated Wetland Law (such as for farming, or activities that will impact smaller areas of wetlands), but the Law has helped to ensure that critical wetland habitats have some protection. If passed, SB389 will repeal Indiana’s Isolated Wetland Law.

SB389, if voted through, will completely repeal Indiana’s Isolated Wetland Law.  If SB389 is passed, critical isolated wetland habitats in Indiana will have neither Federal nor State protection.

Indiana has lost over 85% or 4.7 million acres of the approximately 5.6 million acres of wetlands that existed in the state c.1780. Among the 50 states, Indiana ranks 4th (tied with Missouri) in proportion of wetland acreage lost.  The isolated wetlands that this bill threatens are critically important habitats that should remain protected.

The bill repeals wetlands protections that currently safeguard these critical habitats……We rarely oppose legislation or advocate in the public sphere, and we do not oppose smart development in areas that are not environmentally sensitive. This bill, however, could be so detrimental to water quality and habitat that we feel we must take a stand”. Cliff Chapman, Executive Director, CILTI (Central Indiana Land Trust).

Threatened Indiana Wildlife and Plant Species Dependent on Isolated and Ephemeral Wetlands 

Platanthera leucophaea, Eastern prairie fringed orchid / prairie white-fringed orchid.  Found in sedge meadows, marsh edges and bogs, this delicate plant is classified as Globally imperiled, Federally Threatened and State Critically Imperiled.

Platanthera dilatata, Leafy white bog-orchid.  Thought to best extirpated in the State.

Carex lupuliformis, False hop sedge.  Found in floodplain forests, swamps and at the margins of vernal pools.   Classified as Imperiled in the State.

Ambystoma talpoideum, Mole salamander Species. A burrowing species inhabiting lowland forest, valleys, and floodplains with temporary or permanent wetlands. Classified as State Endangered.

Lithobates [Rana] areolatus, Crawfish frog.  In Indiana, crawfish frogs breed in shallow, seasonal pools in grasslands, pastures, and old fields. Due to drastic population declines and an overall range reduction, classified as State Endangered and Near Threatened globally.

Please consider contacting your elected representative today and ask them to oppose SB 389.  

Illinois signs agreement to advance Brandon Road project to stop Asian carp

Michigan providing $8 million toward project to build gauntlet of technologies blocking Asian carp from the Great Lakes

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (Jan. 7, 2021) — In a press conference today, the State of Illinois and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced they have signed a preconstruction engineering and design agreement for the Brandon Road Lock and Dam project that will help block invasive Asian carp from advancing from the Illinois and Des Plaines Rivers through the Chicago Area Waterway System and into Lake Michigan. The project was approved by Congress in the recently passed Water Resources Development Act. The State of Michigan has agreed to provide $8 million of the approximately $10 million non-federal cost share of this phase of the project.

Marc SmithGreat Lakes Regional Policy Director for the National Wildlife Federation, issued this statement in response:

“If Asian carp invade the Great Lakes, they would have a devastating impact on our fisheries, tourism and outdoor recreation economies, and way of life across the region. We thank Gov. Pritzker for completing this critical agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers so that work can move forward on the Brandon Road plan to stop Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes. We also thank the State of Michigan for honoring its commitment to provide $8 million toward the preconstruction engineering and design phase of the project, which will build a gauntlet of technologies to keep invasive Asian carp from advancing from the Mississippi River watershed into Lake Michigan. Combined with Congressional approval of the project included in the recently-passed Water Resources Development Act, this agreement shows how the protection of our Great Lakes water, jobs, and way of life is a uniting force across state and party boundaries. Asian carp are truly a national problem requiring this national solution.”

Learn more about the effort to stop Asian carp at www.greatlakesconservation.com or by watching the National Wildlife Federation film, “Against the Current.”

Photo attached: Silver carp
Photo credit: National Wildlife Federation

Visit the National Wildlife Federation Media Center at NWF.org/News.
Contact: Drew YoungeDyke, National Wildlife Federation, youngedyke@nwf.org, 734-887-7119

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The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly-changing world. Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

New Film Explores National Scope of Asian Carp Threat

National Wildlife Federation’s “Against the Current” shows the threat of Asian carp to the Great Lakes and their current impacts in Southern and Midwestern waters.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (Oct. 15, 2020) – A new film released today explores the national scope of the problems caused by invasive Asian carp. The film focuses on the impact Asian carp have on the values and economies they threaten in the Great Lakes and the impacts they’re currently having in Southern and Midwestern waters.  Furthermore, it highlights what’s needed to stop them. Against the Current, released by the National Wildlife Federation Great Lakes Regional Center, features diverse viewpoints representing scientific, tribal, business, tourism, fishing, outdoor recreation, and conservation communities from northern Michigan to Tennessee.

“We deliberately explored the often underpublicized – but extremely important – values at risk from invasive Asian carp across a wide swath of the country.” said Drew YoungeDyke, director of conservation partnerships for the National Wildlife Federation Great Lakes Regional Center and executive producer of the film. “We often hear of potential impacts to the Great Lakes sport fishery but we also wanted to show the threat to connected inland waters, tribal fisheries, and the outdoor recreation and tourism economies. We hear frustration that nothing is being done about Asian carp, so we wanted to show some of the projects already completed, as well as the things that still need to be done to stop Asian carp. We wanted to show the impact they’re already having in places that we don’t often hear about like inland rivers in Indiana, and in ways we don’t often hear about like property values and even duck hunting in Tennessee. The film shows that Asian carp aren’t just a Great Lakes fishing issue, they’re a national issue affecting our waters, our economies, and our way of life.”

The film features the perspectives of Doug Craven of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, Ali Shakoor of Wayne State University, Ella Skrocki of Sleeping Beer Surf and Kayak, Chad Munger of Mammoth Distilling, Tom Werkman of Werkman Outfitters, Emily Wood of the Indiana Wildlife Federation, Dave Hosler of Pile Cast Fly Fishing, Don Cranfill of Driftwood Outdoors, Robert Hirschfeld of Prairie Rivers Network, Bill Cooksey of Vanishing Paradise, Mike Butler of the Tennessee Wildlife Federation, and Marc Smith of the National Wildlife Federation, and is narrated by YoungeDyke.

It was filmed, produced, and edited by Jordan Brown of Michigan Out-of-Doors TV and supported by a grant from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust and donations from Rep Your Water and Favorite Fishing Rods. Shorter versions of it recently premiered on Detroit Public TV’s Great Lakes Now program and on Michigan Out-of-Doors TV.

Against the Current can be viewed on YouTubeVimeo, and on the National Wildlife Federation Great Lakes Regional Center’s Facebook page.

Visit www.greatlakesconservation.com for more information about invasive Asian carp.

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Contact: Drew YoungeDyke, National Wildlife Federation, youngedyked@nwf.org, 734-887-7119
Photo: Silver Carp (still frame from the film Against the Current). Credit: National Wildlife Federation

Silver Carp Closeup.jpg

The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly-changing world. Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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Support Indiana Wildlife While You Shop at Kroger!

Support the IWF with Kroger Community Rewards

With a card swipe, you can make an impact. The Kroger Community Rewards program provides shoppers with the option to support the Indiana Wildlife Federation (IWF). Every time you go to the grocery and use your Shopper’s Card, Kroger will donate funds to help support Indiana’s lands and wildlife.

The best part? Once you set it up, you don’t have to worry about it. The steps below will walk you through this one-time enrollment process:

Step 1: Create a Kroger digital account. It just requires some simple information and your Shopper’s Card. Click here to create your digital account. If you don’t have a Shopper’s Card, you can get one at your local Kroger.

Step 2:  Link your Shopper’s Card to the IWF. Now that you have a digital account, you need to sign in and search for your organization. You can find the IWF by searching Indiana Wildlife Federation or HW118. Select the organization and then click “Save.”

If you run into any issues, contact the Kroger Help Center.

Step 3: Watch your contributions stack up. Now that your account is connected, your shopping trips will apply to the program. Kroger will donate annually to the IWF based on your percentage of spending as it relates to the total spending of all participating Kroger Community Rewards organizations. You don’t spend a dime!

That’s it! It’s a simple way to support Hoosier wildlife. One grocery trip at a time.

How Can We Best Protect Indiana’s Aquatic Species and Water Supplies?

Indiana is home to a host of beautiful bodies of water — including Big Blue River, Blue River, East Fork White River, Tippecanoe River, and Walnut Creek — to name just a few. According to independent research group Environment America, however, Indiana has the highest water pollution levels of any state. In 2012 alone, industrial facilities got rid of 206 million pounds of toxic chemicals into US waterways and around 17 million of these were in Indiana. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management states that the figures are lower than Environment America reports but does state that the state needs to improve when it comes to water quality. State conservation programs are already underway to improve the situation but individuals and families can also do their share to reduce contamination.

Know the Effect of Human Action on Animals

It is not only toxic dumping that is harming Indiana’s waters; stormwater gathers chemicals from city roads and brings them into rivers. This harms aquatic species in many ways, interfering with the delicate habitats they need to thrive. When these chemicals are washed into waterways, they reduce oxygen levels in the water. Exposure to heavy metals, meanwhile, impairs a fish’s ability to smell and source food. Chemicals can also cause the proliferation of algal blooms, which are then consumed by fish and by their predators. Human health, too, can be affected through the consumption of contaminated fish. It is therefore important to offset these processes by choosing to lead more sustainable lives — starting with recycling efforts and continuing with the items that you purchase.

What Can Individuals Do About It?

There are many ways that families can help contribute to cleaner waters. One way is by supporting companies with a reputation for environmental sustainability. Some of the industries contributing to the problem include those manufacturing paint, fertilizers, chemicals, dyes, and the like. It is important for individuals to research the sustainability philosophies of everything from fashion to interior design. Families that have pets such as fish should build environmentally friendly aquariums with rocks, recycled tubes, and other elements instead of aquatic plants taken from bodies of water. In fact, aquatic plant cuttings can be taken from existing aquariums or dedicated farms so as not to interfere with aquatic ecosystems. Those interested in owning fish can also choose freshwater species, which require less energy to maintain in good health than sea water fish.

Protecting Fish When You are On a Boat

If you enjoy taking a boat out to enjoy a day on the waters, make sure your boat is well maintained and devoid of oil and gas leaks. Drain your board when you exit a body of water, so you don’t transport chemicals from one body of water to another. Keep it clean and tidy, packaging food in reusable and recyclable items if possible. Don’t throw any food, items, or fish waste into the waterway, since this can cause contamination.

State Intervention

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is also doing its share to improve the situation. It has committed to promoting sustainable, economically feasible water conservation measures. The latter include applying sound planning principles, promoting the efficient use of water, identifying and sharing best management practices, and more. The state is also improving monitoring of water quality, developing educational programs, and researching into new ways to improve water conservation and water use efficiency.

The problem of water pollution in Indiana is one that is of concern both to human beings and aquatic animals. State environmental programs can do plenty to ensure and maintain good water quality. So, too, can individuals — by backing sustainable companies, keeping it clean when they are out on boats, and reusing and recycling items to end wasteful consumption.

– Lucy Wyndham, Guest Contributor

Asian carp

House Panel Approves Brandon Road Project to Stop Asian Carp

Water Resources Development Act also reduces state cost-share, allows for new technologies

National Wildlife Federation, July 21, 2020

ANN ARBOR, MICH.— The Brandon Road project, included in the Water Resources Development Act that passed out of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee last week, will help stop Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. The project also reduced the local cost share requirement of the project from 35% to 20%, easing the financial burden on the state of Illinois.

In addition, the bill allows for new technologies to be considered in the project thus providing more flexibility for potentially even more effective control options to be added in the future. The bill now heads to the full House for approval and eventual negotiations with the Senate’s version, which also approved the Brandon Road project.

“Invasive Asian carp are a national problem to our nation’s waters, fisheries, and way of life. The Brandon Road project is the best opportunity we have to keep them from invading the Great Lakes and spreading to countless new waters, while simultaneously putting people to work building the new lock and dam.” said Marc Smith, policy director for the National Wildlife Federation. “The design of the engineered channel includes multiple carp deterrent technologies and the inclusion of new technologies could increase the effectiveness of the design while potentially reducing costs as more efficient technologies are developed. We thank the bipartisan members of Congress for their diligence in finding national solutions to stop invasive Asian carp.”

Staying Safe And Protecting Wildlife While Visiting Indiana’s Parklands

Staying Safe And Protecting Wildlife While Visiting Indiana’s Parklands

Last year, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore became Indiana’s first National Park. The Dunes, along with three other major parks, a national forest and wilderness area, provide plenty of opportunities in Indiana for visitors of all ages to enjoy outdoor activities, or simply appreciate beautiful scenery and the abundance of plant and animal species in the State. Protecting wildlife is a priority in these areas, but by encouraging the use of designated nature trails, visitors can safely view wildlife and interact with the environment without disrupting ecosystems. By becoming more aware of the natural environment, the public can avoid putting themselves in danger and help to conserve wildlife habitats for the benefit of all.

Ensuring Health And Safety On Nature Preserves

Following a hiking or cycling trail makes a great family day out, and Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also organizes guided hikes through nature reserves. Tourists from out of state will want to stay healthy in order to fully appreciate their time exploring Indiana. Practicing good hygiene habits such as hand washing is an effective way to avoid falling ill on holiday, and, on a long hike, walkers should ensure that they are well rested and hydrated throughout the day. For higher risk activities such as climbing and canoeing, adequate insurance will also give travelers greater peace of mind. To further protect the well-being of visitors, Conservation Officers are on patrol in national wildlife refuges and other federal lands. The officers are looking out for infractions such as littering and out of season hunting, but they are also available to guide visitors and ensure their safety while on public land.

Staying Watchful On Waterways

With 19 large natural lakes and numerous other waterways, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy Indiana’s natural beauty from the water. Of course, great care must be taken around water, and wearing a life jacket is recommended. Throughout the summer, visitors should avoid contact with water containing abundant blue-green algae blooms, as they can contain toxins that are dangerous to people and animals. However, in clearer water, paddling is a great way to safely observe aquatic wildlife and connect with nature. After an extensive reintroduction program, there are much larger numbers of river otters, and impressive aquatic birds like the great egret are a more common sight.

Keeping Vigilant In Wooded Areas

Spotting different types of wildlife can be thrilling, but all animals should be viewed from a distance. Picking up a young squirrel or cottontail rabbit will leave a human scent on their fur that could make them more vulnerable to predators. Even if they appear tame, wild animals will bite and scratch if they are handled, and they could also be carrying insects such as fleas. In grasslands and woodlands, walkers should also be aware of another parasitic insect, the deer tick, that can live on grass blades waiting to attach itself to a passing host. Ticks can cause Lyme disease in humans, but covering up and wearing insect spray that contains DEET will deter them, as well as other pests such as mosquitoes. Through safely interacting with the environment and observing wildlife from a distance, visitors can appreciate all that Indiana’s nature preserves and parklands have to offer without endangering themselves or the natural habitats that they have come to enjoy.

Lucy Wyndham, Guest Contributor

Indiana Wildlife Federation releases a statement on race and inclusion

We share viewpoint of the National Wildlife Federation that stands in solidarity with those who demand justice for the constant stream of deaths of black men and women. We won’t reach our aspiration for a better and equitable future until all people can safely enjoy the outdoors without fear of violence or racism.

Additionally, the Indiana Wildlife Federation believes that in order to be the best collaborators to address our state’s most pressing conservation issues, that every person must have a seat at the table regardless of their race, gender ethnicity, sexual identity, socio-economic status, age, ability, religion, and political philosophy.

We fully acknowledge that we can carry out our work with greater mindfulness and inclusivity if we recognize the social, economic, and political contexts that shaped the early environmental and conservation movements, and resulted in cultural biases that permeate our institutions today.

Only by understanding and addressing these biases will we justly and equitably engage with one another while pursuing our conservation goals.

Grown-Up Coloring Contest: Play for this IWF Prize Pack

BREAK OUT THE COLORED PENCILS!

While our Kid’s Quiz is active for Indiana students in 1st-8th grades, this coloring competition is for anyone 9th grade and up! Choose from the 2 contest images below that were created by Hoosier artist Brian Stovall just for this competition.

CONTEST DETAILS:

Eligible entries must be submitted by Indiana residents that are in the 9th grade or higher (adults encouraged!) To win the prize pack below, your entry must be submitted no later than Friday, May 22nd 2020 at 11:59pm to Jenny Blake (blake@indianawildlife.org). Entries should be scanned or photographed and the email should include your full name, age, shipping address, and t-shirt size (S, M, L, XL, XXL).  Accepted file formats: .pdf, .png, .jpg. Photographs of entries will not be judged on photo quality, but please try to submit pictures that are clear and in bright light.

Coloring submissions will be judged by IWF staff and narrowed to a top 3.  Online voting for the winner of the top 3 will occur the week of May 25-29 via IWF’s Facebook Page. The image with the most Facebook “likes” will win the prize pack; which will ship by June 1st.

WIN THIS COOL PRIZE PACK – SHIPPED TO YOUR DOOR!

 

-Bluebird House

-#Garden4Wildlife issue of National Wildlife Magazine

-Short-sleeved IWF logo t-shirt

-IWF decal

-IWF magnet

 

DOWNLOAD AND PRINT YOUR IMAGE

  

Images can be colored realistically, or with a creative twist. Judges will be considering detail, creativity, accuracy, and general aesthetic. 

Wilder Times with Bears

by Jenny Blake, Indiana Wildlife Federation Sustainable Trails Coordinator

Someone recently asked me what it was like to be a U.S. Park Ranger. That led me to think—why not share some of my wilder times as a Bear Management Ranger with my fellow Hoosier wildlife conservationists?! From 2002 – 2009, I worked in Glacier National Park, Montana. Also referred to as “Crown of the Continent” and “Backbone of the World,” the 1-million-acre park is situated along the northern portion of the Continental Divide and its beauty is absolutely stunning!

I was fortunate enough to be able to work with a species that now only exists in six separate recovery ecosystems within the lower 48—the grizzly bearor ursos arctos horribilis. My duties varied anywhere from intense crowd control at wildlife traffic jams to collaring bears. I’m not making this up!

Wildlife traffic jams can quickly take a wrong turn (pun intended). Imagine taking a leisurely Sunday drive in the country near dusk and you spot a barn owl perched along a fence row. You stop, get out your camera, and snap a photo…maybe even watch it a while as it scans the field for prey. Sounds lovely, right?! Well, now imagine there are 150 other vehicles with the same idea as you that start rolling in one by one. However, not everyone can see so they get out of their cars and walk up to find out what the big deal is. Suddenly, you’re in the middle of a rodeo ring and the owl has shape shifted into a 500-pound fairly dangerous wild animal. We’re back in Glacier now! To add to the excitement, parents often take this opportunity to place their children in front of the bear for that perfect photo!! Yikes!! It could get quite challenging, to say the least!

Opposite of a crowded roadway involves trapping and collaring bears. Let me provide some back story as to why bears are trapped and collared at all. Having a notable population of grizzly bears, Glacier National Park is part of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE)—believed to be the largest population of grizzly bears in the lower 48 states. Ongoing research studies involving population size, reproduction, survival, and trend monitoring greatly improves the collective knowledge of grizzly bear ecology and provides more precise and measurable information to adequately judge the status of the NCDE grizzly bear population.

Another reason bears are collared is for management purposes. Remember that wildlife traffic jam scenario? Unfortunately, there are times when bears receive human food….not good. Bears are extremely intelligent and if a positive food reward is associated with an unwanted behavior, such as moving through a picnic area and eating discarded food left in the grass, they will associate that area with getting food. Sometimes it is necessary to collar an animal in order to track its movement and prevent further unwanted behaviors. When this is required, a small team of biologists and wildlife managers select the trap location based on where they do NOT want the bear to be comfortable or where the bear received the reward. For example, a picnic area, campground, restaurant, dumpster site, or sewer pond would fit in this category. For front country areas such as these, a large metal culvert trap works best to ensure bear and human safety. The trap is baited with a natural attractant, such as a roadkill deer or beaver, hanging on a spring-loaded hook at one end. Once the bear enters the trap and tugs on the bait, the trap door will drop….voila! You just caught a bear!

As you can imagine, the animal is angry, scared and anxious!  Consequently, you have to sedate the bear before applying the collar. Once this is done, the animal is carefully carried out of the culvert onto the ground. Let me back up here and let you guess who gets to go inside of the confined culvert trap with the mostly sedated bear??!! Due to the confinement of the culvert, typically the smallest person gets selected for this task. In other words, many times that job fell to me. I mastered a tactical crab-walk-style method in order to shimmy pass the bear. Don’t worry, we took many actions to confirm the bear was actually sedated…no reason to be anxious here!

Once the animal is removed from the culvert, several steps are taken to ensure it stays healthy while under sedation. The team administers oxygen and monitors the bear’s temperature, respirations, and heart rate. All of this has to happen as efficiently as possible to minimize the time the bear is down–it can be stressful on any animal to be under sedation. After the collar is fitted and applied, the team lifts the bear and safely positions it back in the trap.

Once the bear is fully alert, team members and sometimes even wildlife dogs such as Karelian Bear Dogs position themselves to make the bear as uncomfortable as possible upon release. Once all safety measures are accounted for, the trap door is remotely opened and the action starts! Loud yelling, clapping, barking dogs, and sometimes even cracker rounds (noise maker rounds fired in the air from a 12-guage shotgun) are implemented as the bear leaves the area. Again, the goal is to make the targeted area as uncomfortable as possible so the bear associates the two and does not return. Sometimes they run, sometimes they don’t—it just depends on the animal and the situation.

I hope you have enjoyed these two glimpses of my wilder times as a Bear Management Ranger! All kidding aside, I have a great appreciation for all wildlife and I’m honored to be part of an organization that works so hard to ensure sustainable wildlife and wildlife habitat for our future!!

Asian carp

Conservation Groups Urge Congress to Fund Efforts to Stop Asian Carp

Asian carp jumping from the water at Barkley Dam. Photo courtesy of Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (March 3, 2020) – Conservation organizations representing hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts throughout the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins are urging Congress to continue critical funding in FY 2021 to fight invasive Asian carp.  This funding will help remove Asian carp from waters they’ve already invaded and help keep them out of the Great Lakes and connected waters.

Yesterday, the groups sent a letter to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development and the House Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies requesting funding for federal agencies working to stop the spread of Asian carp. Asian carp decimate native and sport fish populations in waters they invade by reproducing rapidly and consuming food resources at the base of the food chain. In addition, they pose a serious risk to boaters as they jump aggressively out of the water when frightened.

“Asian carp are devastating our waters from Arkansas to Minnesota, impacting iconic bass fisheries in Tennessee and Kentucky, depleting native fish populations in the Mississippi River, and threatening to invade the Great Lakes and its $7 billion annual sport fishery,” said Marc Smith, Great Lakes policy director for the National Wildlife Federation. “These critical investments in the fight to stop Asian carp are absolutely necessary to keep them out of the Great Lakes and start to recover the waters they’ve already diminished.”

The groups included the National Wildlife Federation and its state affiliates Arkansas Wildlife Federation, Conservation Federation of Missouri, Indiana Wildlife Federation, Iowa Wildlife Federation, Kentucky Waterways Alliance, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Minnesota Conservation Federation, Mississippi Wildlife Federation, Ohio Conservation Federation, Prairie Rivers Network, Tennessee Wildlife Federation, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.

Specifically, the groups requested that Congress:

• Provide at least $5 million in FY2021 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue pre-construction engineering and design of the Brandon Road Lock and Dam plan to help keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes;

• Provide at least $300 million in FY2021 for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that will help Asian carp control actions;

• Provide at least $47 million in FY2021 for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission to continue critical work on fisheries management and prevent invasive grass carp from becoming established in the Great Lakes;

• Provide at least $25 million in FY 2021 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to fund the Asian Carp Action Plan to undertake control actions to stop the spread of Asian carp throughout the Mississippi, Ohio River and Tennessee Cumberland River basins; and

• Provide at least $11 million in FY2021 to the U.S. Geological Survey to fund further research into early detection practices and control technologies aimed at stopping the further spread of Asian carp.

“We believe that requesting this critical funding in FY 2021 for the USFWS, USACE, USGS, and GLFC to continue to implement a national coordinated strategy to advance Asian carp control actions is critical to preventing the further spread of Asian carp and other invasive species and is consistent with our collective commitment to protecting the health and sustainability of the Great Lakes, Ohio, Mississippi, Tennessee and Cumberland River Basins,” the groups wrote in the letter.

The full text of the letter is available for download here.

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Contact: Drew YoungeDyke, National Wildlife Federation, youngedyked@nwf.org, 734-887-7119

Visit the National Wildlife Federation Media Center at NWF.org/News.

***

National Wildlife Federation shares free online content for wildlife education at home.

We believe that connecting children with the wonders of wildlife — online and safely in-person — can help youth thrive during these unprecedented times.

So in addition to providing free access to our educational materials, we are also encouraging the safe and responsible enjoyment of the great outdoors by practicing six-feet of physical distancing (especially in parking lots and trailheads), regular hand-washing, and avoidance of common outdoor surfaces.

Here are a few resources to help inspire young people with the wonders of wildlife and nature:

Even though we’re all working remotely, we’re also continuing to advocate for wildlife with the help of millions of members all across the country. We’re working in Congress to ensure that the various recovery packages, especially infrastructure investments, help restore our natural resources, reduce pollution, and improve community resilience. We’re also working with members to pass the Great American Outdoors Act and the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. We’re also pushing back on the Administration’s efforts to reduce protections under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, limit the role of sound science in decision-making, and other imprudent activities — at a time when federal agencies should be focused on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Providing online educational materials and advocating remotely are just two small ways that the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the way the National Wildlife Federation conducts its work. We are taking our responsibilities to the public and our staff incredibly seriously even as we work to unite all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in our rapidly changing world. We have closed all of our national and regional offices during the COVID-19 outbreak and asked all staff to telecommute until at least May 4. We have also suspended all in-person meetings and attendance at meetings convened by other organizations.

Here are the other formal steps the National Wildlife Federation is taking:

  • All domestic and international business travel has been suspended
  • All March and April 2020 meetings have been postponed or canceled
  • Meetings in May and June are being assessed for postponement or cancellation
  • The organization is helping members and activists advocate virtually
  • National Wildlife Magazine, Ranger Rick, and the National Wildlife Federation’s other magazines will continue to publish on a regular calendar.

The threats posed by COVID-19 are unlike anything we’ve seen or experienced in our lifetimes. That’s why the National Wildlife Federation has taken extraordinary steps to not only protect our employees, but also to help connect families with the resources that will help inspire children to love the wonders of wildlife during this difficult time.

We’re all in this together and we’ll be with you every step of the way.

Collin O’Mara
President & Chief Executive Officer
The National Wildlife Federation
703-438-6046 / Collin@NWF.org
www.nwf.orgUniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world

Administration Continues Attacks on Clean Water Act With New Rule

“Since the Administration refuses to protect our waters, we have no choice but to ask the courts to require the EPA to follow the law.”

Contact: Lacey McCormick, National Wildlife Federation, McCormick@NWF.org, 512-610-7765

WASHINGTON (January 23, 2020) – The EPA is set to release a final rule reducing the scope of waters protected from pollution, destruction, and degradation by the Clean Water Act. This rule would leave streams – and even some rivers – federally unprotected that have been covered since the law was first passed in 1972. It would also remove protections for approximately half of the nation’s wetlands.

“At a time when communities across the country are desperately trying to clean up polluted waters and one-third of wildlife species are at a heightened risk of extinction, this misguided rule places our drinking water, our wildlife and our nation’s way of life further at risk,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.

“Since the Administration refuses to protect our waters, we have no choice but to ask the courts to require the EPA to follow the law. We simply cannot afford to lose protections for half of our remaining wetlands, nor can we take any unnecessary chances with our drinking water.”

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The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly-changing world. Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

The 2020 Kid’s Contest

The 2020 Kid’s Contest will end Friday, April 17th!

You can take the quiz anytime throughout the year, but will only award prizes while supplies last starting April 17, 2020. Use the link below to take the quiz and learn about Indiana wildlife.

Click here to start the quiz!

IWF is proud to bring the What’s in Your Wild Backyard? contest to Indiana’s youth.

*All children grades 1-8 who complete the What’s In Your Wild Backyard contest, are Indiana residents, and complete the information form at the end of the quiz, will be eligible to win one of our prizes. IWF will select three winners from each grade category. IWF requires participants to provide their contact information(school address may be used). IWF will not misuse, distribute, or sell this information.

 

Congratulations to the winners of the
2018 Kids’ Contest!

1-2nd Grade

Genesis N.

Luke S.

Bryson D.

 

3-4th Grade

Ishmael H.

Josiah J.

Kaden K.

 

5-6th Grade

Kaylan H.

Heather S.

Caleb O.

Prizes

Historic, Bipartisan Wildlife Funding Bill Moves Forward

View Source Blog: http://nwf.org/Latest-News/Press-Releases/2019/12-05-19-Recovering-Markup
Lacey McCormick Dec 05, 2019

“The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is the most significant piece of wildlife legislation since the Endangered Species Act passed in 1973.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act was passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee today, priming it for a vote on the House floor. The bipartisan legislation, which has nearly 160 co-sponsors, would fund proactive conservation efforts to prevent species from becoming endangered and would provide additional funding for species that are already listed.

“Right now more than one-third of all wildlife species in the United States are at heightened risk of extinction — and demand immediate conservation attention. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is the most significant piece of wildlife legislation since the Endangered Species Act passed in 1973,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Thanks to the leadership of Chairman Grijalva and Reps. Dingell, Fortenberry and Huffman, and the bill’s more than 150 bipartisan cosponsors, this historic bill is making important progress in the House and is showing that even in these divided times, wildlife conservation can bring all Americans together.”

 About the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act:
• The bill will provide $1.397 billion in dedicated annual funding for proactive, on-the-ground wildlife conservation efforts in every state and territory.

• The bill will fund additional recovery efforts for the approximately 1,600 U.S. species already listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

• The majority of the money — $1.3 billion — will go to wildlife recovery efforts led by state wildlife agencies. This spending will be guided by the Congressionally mandated State Wildlife Action Plans, which identify 12,000 species of concern nationwide.

• Tribal Nations would receive $97.5 million annually to fund proactive wildlife conservation efforts on tens of millions of acres of land.

• The bill complements the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson) and Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act (Dingell-Johnson), which funded state-led recovery efforts on behalf of game and fish species that faced potential extinction in the 20th century.

_________________________________________________

Learn more about threatened and endangered wildlife in Indiana and how this legislation can help #RecoverWildlife by attending our January 18, 2020 Indiana Wildlife Conference.

Environmental Organizations React to Arcelormittal InvestigationReport

Download PDF Version

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 23, 2019

Natalie Johnson
Save the Dunes
219-879-3564×122
(additional media contacts included below)

ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS REACT TO ARCELORMITTAL INVESTIGATION REPORT
Portage, IN – Earlier this week, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) released its investigation report on August’s fish kill in the East Branch of the Little Calumet River. The report includes details on the incident and its cause, the response from both IDEM and ArcelorMittal, and the description of violations that occurred. The report points to a series of events which ultimately led to the toxic release of cyanide and ammonia nitrogen into the waterway that flows into Lake Michigan. Moreover, the report also indicates that ArcelorMittal had full knowledge of the equipment failure that would result in the “continuous release of thousands of gallons per minute of blast furnace gas washing wastewater, known, by the nature of its origin, to contain pollutants including Cyanide, to a treatment plant not designed or equipped to treat Cyanide.” Environmental organizations Save the Dunes, Environmental Law and Policy Center, Surfrider Foundation Chicago Chapter, Indiana Wildlife Federation, Hoosier Environmental Council, Izaak Walton League and Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter found the report shocking.

“There is overwhelming evidence that ArcelorMittal knew early on that, due to its equipment failure, cyanide would be destined for the river,” says Natalie Johnson, executive director of Save the Dunes. “The egregious decision to not mitigate the impact or immediately report to IDEM, drinking water utilities, or the National Park is absolutely unacceptable.”

“ArcelorMittal is responsible and should be held accountable for dozens of violations of the Clean Water Act, way beyond the one addressed in the IDEM report,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “That’s why the Environmental Law & Policy Center and the Hoosier Environmental Council served a 60-day notice of intent to bring a Clean Water Act enforcement lawsuit against ArcelorMittal for more than 100 violations of its permit, including water quality violations that harm ecological and public health.”

From Mitch McNeil of the Surfrider Foundation Chicago Chapter: “The actions taken by ArcellorMittal to knowingly and negligently send cyanide-tainted wastewater into Lake Michigan, as described in this report, are criminal. The steel industry is important to the economy, but so is Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan supports wildlife, recreation, commerce, and is a source of drinking water. Treating the lake as a dumping ground with such blatant disregard for its beneficial uses is unacceptable, and actions to that effect taken by ArcellorMittal, U.S. Steel, or any other company cannot be tolerated.”

“Research shows that chemical spills into aquatic habitats can have cascading effects that can impact wildlife and the food web for years after the incident,” says Emily Wood, executive director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation. “With the number of threats already putting pressure on our Great Lakes ecosystems, we have no room for companies acting without integrity.”

From Dr. Indra Frank, director of environmental health and water policy with the Hoosier Environmental Council: “ArcelorMittal’s irresponsible actions documented in this report deserve a significant penalty, one large enough to serve as a strong incentive to do better in the future.

“We are very concerned about the continuing history of the steel industry exceeding its permits and not timely reporting. This puts at risk the drinking water for millions of Americans and threatens the sporting fishing industry,” said Dean Farr, Izaak Walton League. “We hope that IDEM and the industry will develop best practices to responsibly produce steel while sustaining both the environment and the economy.”

“The report reveals a remarkable level of disrespect on ArcelorMittal’s part for public safety, wildlife impacts, and IDEM’s regulatory authority,” says Bowden Quinn, director of the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter. “I hope the department comes down hard on the company for this flagrant disregard of proper operating procedures.”

Violations identified in the report include discharges not allowable under the facility’s NPDES permit, failure to provide required notifications, failure to efficiently operate and maintain facility in good working order at all times, failure to mitigate adverse impact, and numerous effluent limitation violations. The violations identified in the report have been referred to the IDEM Office of Water Quality Enforcement Section for further action. Such enforcement actions may include the payment of civil penalties, the reimbursement of response costs, and damages incurred as a result of the spill.

The full report and corresponding documents are available at www.in.gov/idem/cleanwater/2576.htm.


Download PDF Version

For additional contacts:
Judith Nemes, Media Relations Specialist
Environmental Law & Policy Center
jnemes@elpc.org
312-795-3706

Sarah Damron, Chapter Manager
Surfrider Foundation
sdamron@surfrider.org
831-239-1520

Emily Wood, Executive Director
Indiana Wildlife Federation
wood@indianawildlife.org
317-875-9453

Indra Frank, MD, MPH, Environmental Health & Water Policy Director
Hoosier Environmental Council
IFrank@hecweb.org
317-685-8800×1007

Dean Farr
Izaak Walton League
dean.farr@sbcglobal.net
815-893-0540

Bowden Quinn, Director
Sierra Club, Hoosier Chapter
bowden.quinn@sierraclub.org
317-822-3750