US House passes wildlife conservation bill, supporting local species

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a landmark wildlife bill — in a vote of 231 to 190 on Tuesday — that backs the conservation of endangered and threatened species, including hundreds in areas of the high plains and the enclave.

According to the US Geological Survey, there are currently more than 13,500 species “in greatest need of conservation” in the United States, while the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department cites more than 1,300 “species of special concern” in the United States alone. Texas.

Among those in the area: the prairie chicken, dune sagebrush lizard, swift fox, garter snake and many species of bats, as well as the locally beloved black-tailed prairie dog, which has claimed a tourist destination in Lubbock’s MacKenzie Park and even landed in Lewis and Clark’s journals.

The sagebrush dune lizard is threatened by oil and gas operations in the Permian Basin.

If enacted, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would award more than $1.3 billion annually to state wildlife departments, U.S. territories, and tribal nations to distribute among species conservation efforts.

The new law would amend the Pittman-Robertson Act — now known as the Federal Wildlife Restoration Assistance — that Congress approved 85 years ago to support declining populations of game species. Critics say the 1937 law does not provide sufficient funding for endangered non-game species.

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