NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – US Senator Martin Heinrich is once again pushing a bipartisan bill to save wildlife. He wants to target lesser-known species before they become endangered.
“The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is really an attempt to reverse the decline that we have seen in wildlife across the United States and, really, around the world,” said Senator Heinrich.
Senator Martin Heinrich is working on passing legislation to secure funds to protect endangered species, like the lesser prairie-chicken. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a bipartisan bill that would give more than $1 billion annually to state fish and wildlife agencies.
The lesser prairie-chicken is the latest species in New Mexico to be added to the endangered species list. Senator Heinrich said something needs to be done now.
“If we had had a tool like this 20 years ago, we could have intervened when the populations were much more robust when it was easier to do that conservation work, and when the ramifications would have, you know, far less impact,” said Heinrich.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a non-profit working to protect another New Mexican endangered species, the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard. The Center opposed similar legislation in 2021 because it was dependent on oil and gas revenues and was unfairly distributed. They said this updated bill gets rid of those concerns and gives more support to state agencies.
“Overall, it’s just a much better more balanced bill that actually will achieve on-the-ground conservation,” said Stephanie Kurose, Senior Endangered Species Policy Specialist with the Center for Biological Diversity.
Senator Heinrich said this bill is all about preventing these species from being endangered and the costs that come with saving them.
“That’s the kind of approach we’re trying to take to conservation. Intervene early, invest a little bit early, and avoid the huge numbers that we get stuck with down the road through inaction,” explained Heinrich.
The legislation would also provide more than $97 million to tribal nations annually. It would fund conservation efforts on more than 140 million acres of land.