March 01, 2017

Udall, Portman Introduce Bill to Fund Conservation Programs

WASHINGTON -- Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Rob Portman (D-Ohio) introduced the Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Reauthorization Act, legislation to extend a special postage stamp that funds conservation programs. This legislation is being introduced in advance of World Wildlife Day on Friday, which celebrates and raises awareness about wildlife.

"By allowing individuals to easily and voluntarily contribute with the simple act of mailing a letter, this stamp program has been a successful way to raise millions of dollars for conservation initiatives that protect wildlife and natural resources at no cost to taxpayers," Udall said. "I'm proud to cosponsor its reauthorization to ensure we are taking advantage of every opportunity to preserve the world's treasured natural lands and wildlife for generations to come."

"We owe it to our kids and to our grandkids to preserve our planet's rich wildlife and natural resources for them and for future generations to enjoy," said Portman. "Reauthorizing this stamp program to help fund conservation-at no cost to the taxpayer-is a step that can raise millions of dollars toward that, and I am hopeful my Senate colleagues will join me and continue this successful program for four more years."

"The sensible, bipartisan legislation introduced today shows that political leaders of all stripes recognize the importance of conserving species and ending wildlife crime," said Ginette Hemley, Senior Vice president for Wildlife Conservation at the World Wildlife Fund. "Senators Portman and Udall have set the stage for this valuable program to continue for four more years, and we urge others to join them. By extending the life of the stamp, Congress will also help to extend the lives of some of our world's most beloved and most imperiled wildlife."

"The Save Vanishing Species stamp makes the act of conserving wildlife as easy as mailing a letter," said John Calvelli, Wildlife Conservation Society's Executive Vice President of Public Affairs."Over the past six years, we've seen that this is a win-win as we have increased the financial support for conserving some of our most iconic, endangered species and engaged everyday Americans in the cause. I thank our Congressional champions for continuing this bipartisan, fiscally responsible way to help wildlife."

NOTE: On September 20, 2011, the U.S. Postal Service issued the Saving Vanishing Species Stamp, depicting an endangered Amur tiger cub, priced at 55 cents each. The difference in price from this first-class stamp is transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support the Multinational Species Conservation Funds for tigers, rhinos, elephants, great apes and sea turtles. These funds have supported more than 3,500 grants in more than 54 countries to help save endangered species from extinction.

Portman and Udall authored legislation that was signed into law to extend the sale of the stamp through September 2017. This new legislation would extend the sale of these stamps for an additional four years.

According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, since the first of these stamps went on sale in 2011, more than 30 million have been sold, raising $2.9 million.