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Heinrich, Tillis Announce More Bipartisan Support for Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) announced that two additional senators—U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)—have joined them as cosponsors of their bipartisan legislation, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA). This legislation dedicates significant resources toward state-, territory-, and Tribe-led conservation work to support the long-term health of fish and wildlife and their habitats across America. 

“I’m proud to have colleagues on both sides of the aisle join us in the fight to empower states and Tribes as they work to protect America’s fish and wildlife through proactive, on-the-ground conservation work,” said Heinrich. “Our children deserve to inherit the full breadth of American wildlife that we know today. RAWA will make that possible.” 

“RAWA gives state and tribal wildlife commissions the tools needed to perform proactive, on-the-ground conservation to prevent threatened species from becoming endangered,”said Tillis. “I am proud this legislation with Senator Heinrich continues to gain support so we can keep more fish and wildlife off the endangered species list, save tens of millions of dollars in compliance costs for Americans, and protect our country’s rich natural resources.”

“Conservation is key to ensuring the health and safety of America’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, including the at least 10 freshwater species that are considered endangered here in Pennsylvania,” said Casey. “The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a critical step towards the ultimate goal: protecting our Nation’s environment for the wildlife and communities that rely on them now and for generations to come.”

“While the Endangered Species Act has been generally successful in preventing extinctions, the law has largely failed to recover populations to a sufficient abundance so they can be delisted, and so the burdensome regulations that the law triggers can be lifted. The Recovering America's Wildlife Act offers an important opportunity to address this shortcoming, and to empower state wildlife managers to prioritize the species most in need within their states,” said Rubio. 

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will be a key tool for States, territories, and Tribes. The recovery work funded by RAWA will be guided by the wildlife conservation strategies and plans developed by states, territories, and Tribes. These science-based strategies would restore populations of species with the greatest conservation need. State, territorial, and Tribal wildlife agencies have identified more than 12,000 species in need of conservation assistance. Existing federal funding support is insufficient and fails to provide the resources required to meet all of these needs.

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA):

  • Funds conservation efforts for more than 12,000 species of wildlife and plants in need of assistance by providing $1.4 billion in dedicated annual funding for proactive, on-the-ground efforts across the country.
  • Provides Tribal nations $97.5 million annually to fund proactive wildlife conservation efforts on roughly 140 million acres of land.
  • Ensures wildlife recovery efforts will be guided by State Wildlife Action Plans, which identify specific strategies to restore the populations of species of greatest conservation need.
  • Accelerates the recovery of approximately 1,600 U.S. species already listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
  • Includes improvements to ensure funds are appropriately targeted to the areas of greatest need and facilitate additional investments in protecting at-risk plant species.

RAWA is supported by over 60 Tribes and 1,500 organizations representing state fish and wildlife agencies, sportsmen and women, conservation groups, and industry associations and businesses.

In addition to Heinrich and Tillis and these new cosponsors, RAWA is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Angus King (I-Maine), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.).

Senator Heinrich first introduced RAWA alongside former-U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) in 2021. The Senate bill was voted out of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) in 2022.

You can read the full bill HERE.