INPAWS Advocates to Restore Conservation Funding

With INPAWS Council approval, INPAWS president Art Hopkins send the following letter on August 14, 2013. The letter was drafted by the Indiana Conservation Alliance, of which INPAWS is a member. INPAWS members are invited to chime in to keep funding for a number of important conservation funds that stand to be eliminated.

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The Honorable Jack Reed, Chairman
Senate Interior & Environment Appropriations Subcommittee
728 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510

The Honorable Lisa Murkowski, Ranking Member
Senate Interior & Environment Appropriations Subcommittee
709 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510

The Honorable Mike Simpson, Chairman
House Interior & Environment Appropriations Subcommittee
  2312 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC  20515

The Honorable Jim Moran, Ranking Member
House Interior & Environment Appropriations Subcommittee
2252 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC  20515

Dear Senators Reed and Murkowski & Congressmen Simpson & Moran:

On behalf of the millions of outdoor recreationists our organizations 
represent, we wish to express our support for the State & Tribal 
Wildlife Grants Program, North American Wetland Conservation Fund, 
Neotropical Migratory Bird Fund, Forest Legacy Program and Land and 
Water Conservation Fund. We are concerned that the House Interior, 
Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee proposed 
to eliminate funding for these successful and important fish and 
wildlife conservation programs next fiscal year. Elimination of 
funding will have significant impacts to collaborative on-the-ground 
conservation in communities nationwide resulting in more federal 
endangered species listings, fewer restored wetlands, further 
imperiled migratory birds, less protection for forests and other key 
habitats and diminished outdoor recreation opportunities.

We appreciate the need to reduce the size of the federal deficit and 
the difficult choices that you face. However, these programs are 
priorities and we believe they have done their fair share to help 
balance the budget after being cut by more than 25% in the last 
several years. Continued disproportionate cuts in the current budget 
under consideration will further rollback conservation work that 
serves the national interests of fish and wildlife conservation, 
creation of non-exportable jobs and delivery of essential services 
such as clean water and air and storm protection to current and future 
generations

Investments in natural resources conservation and outdoor recreation 
total less than 1% of all discretionary spending, a percentage that 
has been declining for decades. Grant programs represent an even 
smaller percentage of this total but are unique in that they leverage 
hundreds of millions in state, local and private dollars.  According 
to the US Census Bureau, 90 million US residents participate in fish 
and wildlife recreation, spending over $150 billion annually. Federal 
grant programs help ensure these consumers have sustainable fish and 
wildlife populations to view, hunt and fish.

We strongly encourage you to work in a bipartisan manner to find 
solutions to the budget problem that do not further harm successful 
and publicly supported conservation grant programs that help fuel the 
outdoor recreation economic engine.  Thank you for your time & 
consideration.

Sincerely,
Art Hopkins, President
Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society

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