House committee sets vote on wildlife, geothermal bills

By Scott Streater | 04/15/2024 06:35 AM EDT

Oil and gas legislation is also on the Natural Resources agenda.

House Natural Resources Committee Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.).

The House Natural Resources Committee will vote on legislation from Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) this week. Francis Chung/POLITICO

The House Natural Resources Committee is scheduled this week to mark up a contentious Republican wildlife conservation bill that critics say will weaken the Endangered Species Act.

The full committee markup will also include a slew of geothermal permitting bills that are designed to promote development of the renewable energy resource on federal lands.

But the highlight is H.R. 7408, from Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.). The “America’s Wildlife Habitat Conservation Act,” which has 22 Republican co-sponsors, has drawn a lot of flak from Democrats and Biden administration officials, including Matthew Strickler, deputy assistant Interior secretary for fish and wildlife and parks.


Strickler testified at a Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries hearing last month that the administration has concerns about the bill’s proposal to tie authorization of $300 million for state-level habitat conservation to annual congressional appropriations. He said “robust, predictable funding is essential to meet the resource needs of states and Tribes.”