Portman, Udall Introduce Bill to Ensure Remaining Stamps to Promote Wildlife Conservation Are Sold

March 5, 2019 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced the Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Reauthorization Act, legislation which would require the U.S. Postal Service to sell the approximately 50 million remaining Saving Vanishing Species Stamps left in stock. Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Dianna Feinstein (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Gary Peters (D-MI) are original cosponsors of this legislation. A companion bill in the House has been introduced by Representatives Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE). 

When the program began in 2011, the U.S. Postal Service printed 100 million stamps to help promote wildlife conservation and this legislation would require the U.S. Postal Service to sell the approximately 50 million remaining stamps left in stock. This legislation is being introduced just after of World Wildlife Day this past Sunday, which celebrated and raised awareness about marine wildlife. 

“We owe it to our future generations to preserve our planet’s rich wildlife and natural resources so that they can continue to be enjoyed,” said Portman. “This successful stamp program has raised millions of dollars to fund conservation without any taxpayer money. I am hopeful my Senate colleagues will join me in ensuring that every last stamp is sold.” 

"By giving anyone the chance to easily and voluntarily contribute to a good cause with the simple act of mailing a letter, this stamp program has been a successful way to bolster conservation initiatives that protect iconic wildlife and critical habitat at no cost to taxpayers," Udall said. "I'm proud to co-lead this bipartisan legislation to ensure we are taking advantage of every opportunity to preserve the world's treasured natural landscapes and species for generations to come." 

“This legislation renews a highly successful program that has generated millions of dollars for international conservation at no cost to the American taxpayer. By purchasing the Save Vanishing Species stamp, Americans can help save our planet’s most iconic and endangered wildlife every time they mail a letter. With a global poaching crisis continuing to threaten the survival of many species, this program has never been more important. We urge Congress to quickly pass this bipartisan bill into law,” said Ginette Hemley, senior vice president for Wildlife Conservation, World Wildlife Fund. 

“We have seen the way that the stamp has galvanized support for conservation among the American people over the past year,” said John Calvelli, Wildlife Conservation Society Executive Vice President of Public Affairs.  “I thank Senators Portman and Udall and Representatives Clay and Fortenberry for their leadership in introducing this bill, and I urge Congress to prevent the extinction of this fiscally responsible funding source for the world’s most iconic species by reauthorizing the stamp.”

NOTE: On September 20, 2011, the U.S. Postal Service issued the Saving Vanishing Species Stamp, depicting an endangered Amur tiger cub, priced above the normal price of a first-class stamp. The difference in price from this first-class stamp is transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support the five Multinational Species Conservation Funds to protect tigers, rhinoceroses, Asian and African elephants, marine turtles, and great apes. These programs target poaching, illegal wildlife trade, habitat protection, and projects to incorporate species conservation into community development. 

According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, since the first of these stamps went on sale in 2011, more than 49 million have been sold, raising more than $5.4 million. This has helped fund 99 projects in more than 30 countries. Projects supported in part by sales of the Save Vanishing Species Stamp have also leveraged $18.8 million in additional matching funds. 

Portman and Udall authored legislation that was signed into law to extend the sale of the stamp through September 2018. The FY2019 spending bill requires the U.S. Postal Service to continue selling the stamps through FY2020. This new legislation would require the U.S. Postal Service to sell the approximately 50 million remaining stamps left in stock.