Issue Brief: Safeguarding Americas Future and Environment Act


Based on the scientific findings and evidence about the causes and impacts of climate change, the American Society of Landscape Architects recognizes that global climate change presents a serious threat to humans and our environment. Landscape architects have the education, training, and skills to lead individuals, communities, and nations through this crisis to a more sustainable and resilient future.

Background & Analysis

On November 30, 2017, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and Representative Matt Cartwright (PA) introduced Safeguarding America's Future and Environment (SAFE) Act (S. 2176, H.R. 4490) to protect the country’s wildlife and natural resources from climate change.

The bill would establish an integrated national approach to ongoing and expected effects of extreme weather and climate change. The measure seeks to develop a climate change adaptation plan that protects natural resources and the environmental landscape, and will reduce long-term costs associated with a warming climate.

Specifically, the SAFE Act would require federal natural resource agencies to form an interagency working group to plan and implement a long-term national climate change adaptation strategy based on the best available science. The legislation would require agencies to work together to identify and prioritize specific conservation and management strategies and actions to respond to extreme weather and climate change. The bill would also create the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, to develop and compile scientific information on climate variability.

Passage of the SAFE Act would provide federal- and state-specific guidance on how to prepare for the long-term costs of climate change such as severe wildfires, floods, and hurricanes. The bill also provides a road map on managing forests, waters, and wetlands to withstand more frequent and severe weather events.


Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and co-sponsors.
Representative Matt Cartwright (PA) and co-sponsors.

Current Status

The Safeguarding America’s Future and Environment Act was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate on November 30, 2017. S. 2176 was referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and H.R. 4490 was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.


On November 11, 2011, Senator Whitehouse introduced the SAFE Act in the 112th Congress. Subsequent versions of the bill appeared in the House and Senate during the 113th and 114th Congresses. Unfortunately, the legislation did not advance from committee to the Senate or House floor for a final vote.


Smart Policies For A Changing Climate
Whitehouse, Cartwright Introduce Bill to Protect Natural Resources from Climate Change
Congressional Climate Solutions Caucus
The Paris Agreement – United Nations Climate Change

Related ASLA Public Policies

Environmental Sustainability
Water Quality and Conservation
Vegetation in the Built Environment
Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat
Environmental Justice



ASLA Government Affairs