Almost 100 North Carolina businesses and conservation groups sent a letter to the state’s congressional delegation this week, urging them to support the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (HR 4647).
The legislation, co-sponsored by Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., and Rep. David Rouzer, R-N.C., would allocate funds already collected from oil and gas companies and secure the money for state wildlife conservation agencies across the country.
Tim Gestwicki, CEO of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, said taking steps to protect species before they’re added to the Endangered Species list costs less for everyone in the long run.
“When you require more restrictive and expensive regulatory protections, that costs a lot more money,” he said. “So, it’s not only North Carolina conservation groups, but it’s businesses that value this – because, like many things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
In North Carolina, 457 fish and wildlife species are considered “at risk” and would benefit from the funding. If passed, the legislation would result in no new taxes and instead secure funds, already being paid by the oil and gas industry.
The bill has been referred to a House subcommittee. Gestwicki said it’s nice to see members of both parties working together to protect America’s resources.
“We’re looking forward to more and more congressmen supporting this,” he added. “It is clearly a bipartisan bill, and wildlife and conservation have always been bipartisan. And so, this is a good way of supporting good common sense, good business, good conservation for all.”
According to the Outdoor Industry Association, the state’s outdoor economy contributes $28 billion annually and creates 260,000 jobs.