June 18, 2015

Rep. Cartwright, Senator Whitehouse Introduce Legislation to Protect Natural Resources from Climate Change

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright and U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) re-introduced the Safeguarding America’s Future and Environment (SAFE) Act, legislation that would safeguard the country’s natural resources from the increasingly harmful effects of climate change. 

“Climate change poses an immediate and long-term threat to the natural resources and environmental landscape that many local communities depend on for a livelihood.  In Pennsylvania alone, outdoor recreation generates $21.5 billion in annual consumer spending and supports 219,000 jobs,” said Rep. Cartwright, a member of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC).  “This legislation will proactively develop a climate change adaption plan to protect our lands and waters, such as the Delaware River and Pocono Mountains, from a changing climate.”

“The effects of climate change are all around us, from the oceans in Rhode Island, to the waterways of Pennsylvania,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “As our natural ecosystems continue to experience costly and unpredictable extreme weather like droughts, floods, and hurricanes, we need to take action.  The SAFE Act will help us better prepare for the changes that we can no longer avoid even as we continue working to prevent the worst outcomes for future generations.”

The bill would require federal natural resource agencies to plan and implement a long-term national climate change adaptation strategy in coordination with state, local, and tribal governments.  The bill would provide an integrated national approach to ongoing and expected effects of extreme weather and climate change, building on existing federal, state, and local efforts to reduce redundancy and costs.  The bill would require agencies to work together to identify and prioritize specific conservation and management strategies and actions to respond to extreme weather and climate change.   Additionally, the bill would encourage the development of state-specific adaptation plans to receive funding related to the Act.  

This national strategy would guide federal adaptation plans and reduce redundancy and costs.  The Act creates the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, to develop and compile scientific information on climate variability, and a Science Advisory Board, to ensure that agency planning considers the best available science.

“Senator Whitehouse and Rep. Cartwright are demonstrating real leadership by taking a stand on climate change and working to protecting our nation’s natural resources and the communities that depend on them,” said Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark.  “Restoring and conserving our natural resources now is the key to making them more resilient in the face of global warming and extreme weather events in the future.  The SAFE Act represents a serious effort to do just that.”

The following organizations have endorsed the legislation: American Forests, American Rivers, Conservation Northwest, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Endangered Species Coalition, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, National Parks Conservation Association, Outdoor Alliance, Restore America’s Estuaries, Rocky Mountain Wild, Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land, The Wilderness Society, The Wildlife Society, Wildlands Network, Wildlife Conservation Society, Winter Wildlands Alliance, World Wildlife Fund


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