Whitehouse, Portman, Senate Colleagues’ Tropical Forest Conservation Reauthorization Act Included in Final FY 2020 Funding Bill
Bipartisan Legislation Promotes Conservation & Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Brian Schatz (D-HI), announced that the final FY 2020 funding bill includes $15 million for their bipartisan Tropical Forest Conservation Reauthorization Act (TFCA). This program has saved more than 67 million acres of tropical forest by allowing developing countries that meet certain criteria to be relieved of debt owed to the United States in exchange for their conservation efforts. To date, the TFCA program has sequestered 56 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent of taking 11.8 million cars off the road. For the first time since its inception in 1998, Portman’s legislation expands TFCA to include the protection of coral reef ecosystems.
“It’s going to take aggressive conservation efforts all over the world to address rising seas, declining wildlife populations, and disappearing natural habitats,” said Senator Whitehouse. “This program has successfully protected tropical forests, and I’m pleased that our bipartisan effort has been expanded to include other fragile ecosystems like coral reefs.”
“I’m pleased that the final FY 2020 funding bill includes $15 million for this bipartisan conservation effort which is making significant strides toward building stronger relationships with countries around the world while ensuring our natural resources are protected and preserved for the next generation,” said Senator Portman, co-chair of the International Conservation Caucus. “Since 1998, this common-sense and proven approach has protected millions of acres of tropical forest from deforestation—a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions.”
“This bipartisan legislation is simply smart policy: it helps preserve and protect precious eco-systems all while strengthening the United States’ economic and security relationships around the world,” Senator Udall said. “I am glad that the final funding bill includes these resources for the Tropical Forest Conservation Act, because it represents the sensible and creative approach to policy-making that we need to take if we want to confront the increasingly grave threats to our planet and global stability.”
“I believe that conservation is one of the greatest gifts we can give to future generations, and that we have a responsibility to preserve and pass down the incredible natural wonders we’ve inherited,” Senator Burr stated. “I’m proud to have been a part of this bipartisan effort to help protect tropical forests and coral reef systems.”
NOTE: Portman first introduced the TFCA in 1998 as a member of the House of Representatives. According to the Congressional Research Service, since 1998, 20 TFCA agreements have been completed with 14 countries, raising more than $339 million for tropical forest conservation.
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