WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, ahead of Endangered Species Day, U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, introduced the Extinction Prevention Act, bicameral legislation to provide much-needed funding for some of the country’s most imperiled yet vastly underfunded wildlife species, including threatened and endangered North American butterflies, various Pacific Island plants, freshwater mussels, and Southwest desert fish. The legislation, led by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in the Senate, was also introduced in the House by Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ).
“In Hawaii, native plants are crucial to the islands’ history, culture, and environment, which is why our communities prioritize the preservation of our unique biodiversity,” said Senator Hirono. “I’m glad to join my colleagues in reintroducing this legislation to invest in the conservation of some of our nation’s most vulnerable species. It is important that we protect endangered species so they can continue serving important ecological roles for years to come.”
The Extinction Prevention Act addresses the longstanding issue of insufficient funding which has plagued efforts to recover these at-risk species, in some cases, for decades. It authorizes $5 million annually for each species group to fund conservation projects related to:
Habitat protection for these less charismatic species is chronically underfunded despite them being among the species most at risk of extinction.
Eligible applicants for funding include relevant states, territories, tribal governments, or any other entities with the expertise required for the conservation of the particular species group.
In addition to Senators Hirono and Blumenthal, the bill has also been co-sponsored by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR). This bill has been endorsed by the Endangered Species Coalition; Center for Biological Diversity; and the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium Freshwater Mussel Conservation and Research Center
The full text of the bill is available here. A fact sheet about the bill is available here.