From the Endangered Species Coalition

Endangered Species Act legislative update: Interior Appropriations and Walden Logging Bill Interior Appropriations Bill Passes House: The Fiscal Year 2007 Interior Appropriations bill passed the House last Thursday. While the funding levels are still significantly lower than what is needed to effectively conserve endangered and threatened species, some significant conservation victories occurred. In addition to a handful of other positive amendments, the House removed a bad provision that was inserted in the committee that would have lifted the moratorium on off-shore natural gas drilling. In addition, the House voted 235-181, including 86 Republicans, to cease federal subsidies for road building and clearcutting in the Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska, the world's largest intact coastal temperate rainforest. It is now up to the Senate to increase funding for endangered species conservation. Rep. Walden’s Logging Bill Passes the House: The House also last week passed Rep. Greg Walden’s (R-OR) environmentally destructive national forest logging bill- HR 4200. This legislation seeks to accelerate and increase post-fire and other post-disturbance logging on national forests by attempting to give the federal government the ability to declare nearly any weather event or fire, on 250 acres or more in our forests, a “natural disaster” that would trigger a waiver of key environmental and public participation laws- including the Endangered Species Act. The battle now moves to the Senate, where Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) has introduced a similar bill (S 2079).