Groups Urge House to Reject Conservation Cuts

(KCPW News) Conservationists say an appropriations bill the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on this week would mean massive cuts to programs that benefit the Great Salt Lake and surrounding wetlands. Lynn de Freitas, Executive Director of Friends of Great Salt Lake, says those include the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

“This really is a place that dollars actually multiply and the benefits from this kind of fund gets translated into programs, gets translated into jobs, gets translated into habitat protection and enhancement, so it’s disappointing to think that this is on the chopping block,” says de Freitas.

De Freitas’ group and the Utah Waterfowl Association are calling on Utah’s Congressional delegation to vote against the measure. She specifically points to Representative Rob Bishop, who has the Great Salt Lake in his district.

“I’m kind of stymied over the demonstration of such vigor to support these massive funding cuts to these very, very important conservation programs that do translate out into multiples of economic dollars for the state of Utah, but also for across the nation,” she says.

The group says Utah has received $3.6 million from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, which has generated local and private contributions of
$10.4 million. It says the Land and Water Conservation Fund has paid for 450 projects in the state.