As tens of thousands of gallons of oil pour into the Gulf of Mexico, the United States Senate is introducing a bill that will protect the environment. Not an energy and climate bill (not yet anyway), but the Global Conservation Act of 2010.
This Senate bill was introduced by Senator Brownback (R-KS) and Senator Udall (D-NM) and represents a significant bipartisan effort in a time of heavy partisan politics. Actually, I should say it represents another significant bipartisan effort, as earlier this year the U.S. House of Representatives introduced their version of the Global Conservation Act.
So why is this bill garnering support from both Republicans and Democrats when so many other efforts are stymied by political gridlock? Maybe because this bill is straightforward and just makes sense.
The bill lays out a clear strategy that helps to protect the world’s most ecologically and economically important wilderness and marine areas – areas that we count on for medicines, food production, fresh water supplies and even our national security. Just this past week, the Center for New American Security – a leading national security research institution – released their study on how the loss of global natural resources are directly linked to internal stability, regional dynamics and U.S. security and foreign policy interests.
This bill will hopefully move forward and help us finally prioritize nature and our long-term prosperity and health. Maybe this is the start of a new spirit of collaboration in Congress. Let’s hope so.
Manuel Oliva is CI’s director of U.S. policy.