Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) opposed a legislative attempt by the majority party to systematically dismantle a number of environmental protections. The ironically titled Conservation and Economic Growth Act is an unnecessary solution looking for a non-existent problem.
"It is disappointing that Congress is not focused on what should be our top priority and that is creating jobs," said Davis. "I fail to see how this bill creates middle class prosperity. It simply eliminates a series of environmental protections while claiming that such an act will create economic growth."
The bill is a package of 14 bills - some of which are very contentious. One provision of the bill creates a 100-mile zone along the northern and southern land borders of the United States to be under the control of the Department of Homeland Security and waives numerous key environmental protection and public land management laws within this zone. These provisions are strongly opposed by numerous environmental, conservation, Latino, tribal, hunting, and fishing groups. Under sworn testimony, the Border Patrol asserted that current environmental laws do not hinder their efforts on border security.
Protected under Marine Mammal Protection Act, sea lions that are feeding on salmon in the Columbia River would be exposed to hunting under the bill. There are a number of threats to salmon in the Columbia River, the least of which is predation from sea lions. The greatest threats to salmon and other fish include habitat loss, fishing pressure, climate change, and pesticides. Under the bill, up to 85 sea lions could be slaughtered each year.
The so-called Conservation and Economic Growth Act passed the House on a vote of 232-188.