Chair Castor Praises 'America The Beautiful' Initiative To Protect 30% Of Lands & Waters
WASHINGTON - On Thursday, Chair Kathy Castor of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis released the following statement after the Biden-Harris Administration announced the ‘America The Beautiful’ initiative, which outlines a nationwide conservation goal to protect 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030:
“Protecting America's lands and waters is a crucial way to create new jobs, advance environmental justice, and ensure cleaner air and water for rural, urban, and Tribal communities across America,” said Chair Castor. “This new initiative makes progress on our Climate Crisis Action Plan, which highlights the need to protect 30% of our lands and ocean by 2030. It also makes good on President Biden's promise to push for environmental justice across the government and in every zip code. Now it's up to Congress to build on this progress. We have an important opportunity to protect America's natural resources while putting people to work, two priorities that have long had bipartisan support.”
Announced on Thursday, the ‘America The Beautiful’ initiative calls for a decade-long effort to support locally-led and voluntary conservation and restoration efforts across public, private, and Tribal lands and waters. It identifies eight principles that will guide this effort, including boosting job creation, protecting public health, honoring private property rights, and building partnerships with fishers, landowners, Tribal leaders, and local communities.
The new initiative falls in line with recommendations made last year by the Select Committee's Climate Crisis Action Plan, which calls on the United States to establish a national goal of protecting at least 30% of all U.S. lands and ocean areas by 2030 (30x30), prioritizing high-value protection designations and areas with high ecological, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration value, and working collaboratively with tribes, state governments, private landowners, and local communities to achieve this goal.
The Biden-Harris Administration's new report highlights six priority areas in this effort:
- Creating more parks and safe outdoor opportunities in nature-deprived communities,
- Supporting Tribally led conservation and restoration priorities,
- Expanding collaborative conservation of fish and wildlife habitats and corridors,
- Increasing access for outdoor recreation,
- Incentivizing and rewarding the voluntary conservation efforts of fishers, ranchers, farmers, and forest owners, and
- Creating jobs by investing in restoration and resilience projects and initiatives, including the Civilian Climate Corps.
More information can be found on the Interior Department's website.
- In June of 2020, the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Democrats released the majority staff report Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America. This report provides a roadmap for Congress—a Climate Crisis Action Plan—to build a prosperous, clean energy economy that values workers, advances environmental justice, and is prepared to meet the challenges of the climate crisis.