Global environmental challenges
This just in: the U.S. House of Representatives agreed on something. A bipartisan majority of the House voted to preserve funding for the Endangered Species Act and the animals and plants it protects.
In other legislatures and at other times, this might not sound like such a big deal. Just now, though, with both parties seemingly unable to reach a compromise on raising the U.S. debt ceiling, it’s a sign that agreement is at least a possibility.
House lawmakers voted 224-202 to change the appropriations bill for the Interior Department to take out what environmental groups called the “extinction rider.” This rider would have stopped the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from spending any money to protect new species under the Endangered Species Act or to designate habitat that is critical to their survival. At least 37 Republicans voted for the measure, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, which pushes for species conservation.
Environmental groups were jubilant:
“It is refreshing to see Congress make clear that the Endangered Species Act remains essential today.” — Andrew Wetzler of Natural Resources Defense Council
Some stories, no matter how serious, are just joke-prone. So it was this week with the proposed U.S. BULB act, which aimed to repeal light bulb efficiency standards that became law in 2007. Sponsored by Joe Barton, a Texas Republican congressman, the BULB bill failed to receive the two-thirds vote of those present in the House of Representatives that would have been needed to suspend House rules and pass the measure.
That was the signal for Washington politicians, interest groups and some headline writers to crank up the pun-producing machinery: