The U.S. House of Representatives passed its Interior Appropriations bill, which now awaits consideration in the U.S. Senate.

WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs John Calvelli released the following statement:

“We appreciate that the House bill includes adequate funding in the Interior Appropriations title for international conservation priorities including the Multinational Species Conservation Funds, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) International Affairs, FWS Office of Law Enforcement and U.S. Forest Service International Programs. These programs provide critical support for stopping wildlife crime, which serves U.S. national and economic security interests which conserving the world’s most iconic species. I thank the members of the House Appropriations Committee, including Interior subcommittee chair Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), subcommittee ranking member Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), full committee chair Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), and full committee ranking member Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), and the key champions of conservation in Congress for their leadership in ensuring these vital programs continue.

“Unfortunately, the bill also contains several harmful policy riders, some of which were added during this week’s floor consideration of the bill, including efforts to weaken Endangered Species Act. The ESA is the United States’ most effective tool to save species, having effectively prevented the extinction of 99 percent of listed species to date.

“When the Senate takes up its Interior Appropriations bill, we hope they will agree to fully fund critical international conservation programs, but ensure the effectiveness of the ESA by omitting those harmful provisions.”