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Conservation and Climate Provisions Prioritized in Biden Administration’s Annual Budget Request

 Audubon > News Read More 

The Biden Administration’s fiscal year 2025 budget request to Congress featured a clear focus on conserving our natural resources and addressing urgent issues like biodiversity and climate change. While constrained in some respects by previous legislation connected to the debt limit, the administration’s request suggests increases in several areas that are key to the protection of places that both birds and communities need to survive.

The FY25 budget request is not binding, but serves as an indicator of the administration’s priorities, and provides a framework for the congressional budget process. The House and Senate will review the request and pass their own resolutions. Funds will be allocated through the appropriations process later in the year.

Here are the most notable mentions for birds in the FY25 request:

·         Climate: Hundreds of bird species face devastating range loss and extinction due to climate change. The same climate threats that imperil birds – including sea level rise, droughts, and more frequent and severe storms – threaten communities. The budget request expands on Inflation Reduction Act climate programs, develops the American Climate Corps, and gives the Environmental Protection Agency the largest increase for any agency.

·         Clean Energy: Additionally, the budget would offer sizable increases to clean energy projects. It would give additional funds to clean energy programs, clean energy workforce and infrastructure projects, and a 37% increase to renewable energy development on public lands. It also includes a massive increase in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s offshore wind permitting. By advocating for responsible and community-centered clean energy planning, we can reduce emissions and protect birds from the worst impacts of climate change while preserving essential habitats for all.

·         Endangered Species Act: Audubon has urged the administration to improve systems that incentivize companies for taking common-sense precautions to avoid harm to migratory birds, a process known as permitting. The budget request specifies $200 million in funding for the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) environmental planning and consultation and migratory bird permitting. This would translate to a $40 million increase over previous years.

·         National Wildlife Refuge System: The National Wildlife Refuge System  comprises 95 million land acres and 760 million marine acres. The budget includes a 14% increase in funding requests for the woefully underfunded system, which provides important bird habitat, as well as ecosystem benefits and recreational access. An annual survey from the Fish and Wildlife Service found that 96 million Americans participated in birdwatching, and a 2022 Audubon study found that half of the birds in the refuge system are vulnerable to climate-related habitat changes, so increased funding is critical.  

·         Everglades:  The budget requests $444 million for the Florida Everglades restoration program through the Army Corps of Engineers, an increase over previous years. The Everglades is one of the largest wetlands in the world and provides critical habitat for wildlife, as well as clean water and flood protection for nearby communities.

·         Tribal communities: Research has shown that nearly 48% of households on Tribal reservations lack clean water and adequate sanitation. A $2.8 billion increase is requested for Tribal Water Rights Settlements, which will help tribal communities to establish reliable sources of clean water for both people and wildlife.

We look forward to working with Congress to ensure that the FY25 appropriations process closely aligns with these provisions in the budget request to protect birds and our communities throughout the country.

 

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