The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has formally endorsed the Botanical Sciences and Native Plant Materials Research, Restoration, and Promotion Act (H.R. 1054) and will be advocating for the bill's passage in the U.S. Congress.
This bipartisan legislation was introduced by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and aims to increase the botanical science capacity of the federal government to protect native plants and plant ecosystems. The bill currently has 11 cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives and includes provisions that would:
- Create a new program of botanical science research within the Department of the Interior (DOI) to help increase federal botanic expertise and allows DOI to hire new, additional personnel
- Create a student loan repayment program for botanical scientists to encourage more students to make the decision to enter the field and to support them once they've graduated
- Declare a federal policy that the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, and Defense preference the use of locally-adapted native plant materials in their land management activities
- Require states to utilize native plant species where possible and practical
- Establishe a new program to support collaborative grants to prevent rare plant species from becoming endangered and to remediate already endangered populations
"One of our nation's greatest assets is its biodiversity, which is why we must support the health of these ecosystems, as well as the dedicated scientists that have made our earth's preservation their life's work," said Rep. Quigley.
Botanical experts in the U.S. help to study, effectively manage, and guide the sustainable use of the nation's vast plant resources, but the country is projected to lose a significant botanical expertise in the next decade as experienced scientists retire and are not replaced, according to Rep. Quigley.
"This bill would enact meaningful steps to ensure the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native botanical species that significantly contribute to a higher quality of life for countless Americans," said Michael McGuffin, AHPA's president. "AHPA strongly supports this bill and will advocate to move it through the House and Senate."