WASHINGTON (February 6, 2020) – Audubon Chief Conservation Officer, David O’Neill appeared before a U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee today where he called for strong federal investment in coastal resilience, natural infrastructure, wetland restoration, water conservation, and responding to the threat of climate change.

“With the Administration implementing rollback after rollback of our bedrock environmental laws, increasing federal conservation investments is a critical backstop,” O’Neill told the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. “Since 1970, we’ve lost 3 billion of America’s birds and two-thirds of our remaining birds are now at risk of extinction due to climate change. The birds we’ve lost are not just threatened or endangered species, but common birds found in communities and backyards across the country. These bird declines are due to human activity, including habitat loss and degradation and direct mortality, including from industrial hazards. In addition, increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases are disrupting natural cycles and causing temperatures to rise across the globe. This is the fifth alarm in a five-alarm fire.”

The National Audubon Society is proposing the following federal Fiscal Year 2021 funding priorities to address critical threats facing birds and to start to reverse this devastating trend. The Administration and Congress must reject any cuts or policy riders, past or future, that would harm birds or contribute to climate change and instead deliver a budget that protects and strengthens our environment and the ecosystems birds and humans rely on. The committee must also reject past or future policy riders that harm birds including language preventing listing of the Greater Sage-Grouse if that’s found to be scientifically necessary. 

“Bipartisan conservation projects and programs provide tangible, scientific solutions to recover our bird populations as well as provide cleaner water and air plus natural barriers for communities in the wake of more frequent and severe catastrophic weather events,” said O’Neill. “Now is the time to fully invest in conservation programs at a scale necessary to address this crisis, and ensure a sustainable path forward for birds and communities, now and into the future.”

You can download Audubon’s #BirdBudget Proposal here.

You can download David O’Neill’s written testimony here. 


Media Contact: Matt Smelser, matt.smelser@audubon.org, 202.516.5593

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using, science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more how to help at www.audubon.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.

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