Senate Passes Bipartisan Wildlife Conservation Legislation

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released the following statement following unanimous Senate passage of S. 826, The Wildlife Innovation and Longevity Driver (WILD) Act. Inhofe co-sponsored the legislation.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Partners for Fish and Wildlife program is a perfect example of a federal program that works with the states rather than against them,” Inhofe said. “This program, in tandem with efforts by private landowners and local stakeholders, has improved over 300,000 acres of wildlife habitat throughout Oklahoma. I am pleased that the Senate has passed the WILD Act, reauthorizing such a successful program.”

EPW Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Ranking Member, and Tom Carper (D-Del.), also praised Senate passage of the WILD Act.   

“The Senate has passed important bipartisan conservation legislation,” said Barrasso. “The WILD Act rewards innovative ideas to safeguard threatened species and keep invasive species under control. The legislation will also reauthorize vital conservation programs. The WILD Act will enhance conservation efforts in America and around the world."

"American ingenuity has always been our best tool in meeting the challenges our country has faced, so it just makes sense that we would harness that same innovative spirit in order to find smart ways to protect imperiled species and address the threat that invasive species present to our native fish, wildlife and plants,” said Carper. “The WILD Act, which I was proud to introduce with Chairman Barrasso, takes lessons learned from experts on the ground and aims to spur our efforts to find new and better ways to manage and conserve wildlife and give these creatures a fighting chance. Inspiring the creative ideas of tomorrow benefits us all, and I am so pleased that so many of my colleagues have joined us in this common sense and bipartisan effort."

The WILD Act will promote wildlife conservation, assist in the management of invasive species, help protect endangered species and reauthorize government conservation programs. It will also establish prize competitions to prevent illegal poaching and trafficking, manage invasive species, promote conservation, protect endangered wildlife and develop non-lethal methods to manage wildlife. 

The WILD Act is also supported by a diverse group of stakeholders,  World Wildlife Fund, National Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited, and the Family Farm Alliance.

Details of the WILD Act:

  • Reauthorize and fund the Department of the Interior’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program until fiscal year 2022;
  • Require federal agencies to implement strategic programs to control invasive species;
  • Reauthorize legislation to protect endangered species such as elephants, great apes, tigers, and others;
  • Establish the Theodore Roosevelt Genius Prize competitions, which will award monetary-prizes for technological innovation in the following categories:  
    • the prevention of wildlife poaching and trafficking,
    • the promotion of wildlife conservation,
    • the management of invasive species,
    • the protection of endangered species, and
    • the use of nonlethal methods to control wildlife.

 Background:

  • On March 15, 2017, the EPW Committee held an oversight hearing on “Examining Innovative Solutions to Control Invasive Species and Promote Wildlife Conservation.”
  • On April 5, 2017, the WILD Act was reported out of the the EPW committee.
  • On June 6, 2017, Chairman Barrasso and Ranking Member Carper authored a piece in The Hill in support of the WILD Act.