As federal appropriation decisions are made in Washington, D.C. this summer, there will be many crucial policies and programs considered. One important conservation item that must be included is more funding for threatened and endangered species.

Biodiversity is essential to our quality of life and the health of our economy. There’s no getting around the fact that we need clean air, clean water, outdoor spaces, and countless other goods and services that nature provides. Unfortunately, roughly 1 million species globally are at risk of extinction, including the Atlantic salmon, Red knot, and leatherback sea turtle here in Maine. Stewarding our lands and waters and preserving the rich diversity of species is well worth the investment of public funds.

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree recognizes the value of protecting biodiversity, including imperiled species. She co-sponsored House Resolution 69 calling for the creation of a national biodiversity strategy. Adequately funding the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) will help prevent extinction and, in the best-case scenarios, can lead to full-fledged recovery of treasured and ecologically important species. Mainers can see with their own eyes the success story of the Bald Eagle in our state because of the ESA.

I appreciate Congresswoman Pingree’s efforts to underscore the value of biodiversity. As House Chair of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, Congresswoman Pingree has an opportunity to prioritize species protection. I encourage her to expand federal appropriations in FY22 for the ESA for the betterment of Maine’s environment, people, and communities.

Maine has a climate and environmental champion in Congresswoman Pingree, and I look forward to seeing her continued leadership on conservation and species restoration issues through the appropriations process.

Sally Oldham,

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