Chair Castor: 'Today's Vote Is A Crucial Step In Our Effort To Solve The Climate Crisis'
Feb 26, 2021
Conservation Package Makes Progress on Climate Crisis Action Plan & Goal Of Protecting '30x30'
WASHINGTON - Chair Kathy Castor of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis released the following statement on Friday as the House of Representatives voted to pass the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act:
"Today's vote is a crucial step in our effort to solve the climate crisis, getting us closer to our goal of protecting 30% of America's land and ocean areas by 2030," said Chair Castor. "This bipartisan legislation will protect unique landscapes from harmful drilling and mining, expand our potential to deploy natural climate solutions, and ensure access to clean drinking water and recreational green spaces for countless Americans.
"I applaud the leadership of Chair Raul Grijalva and our colleagues in the Natural Resources Committee. I'm also grateful for their deep commitment to environmental justice, which has echoed through the halls of Congress and elevated our moral imperative to partner with tribal leaders, Black and Brown communities, and disadvantaged Americans on lasting solutions."
The Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act is an eight-bill legislative package that will provide lasting protections for key public lands and waters in Arizona, Colorado, California, and Washington. The legislation:
- Designates nearly 1.5 million acres of public land as wilderness
- Protects more than 1.2 million acres of public land from new oil and gas and mining claims
- Ensures that iconic landscapes like the Grand Canyon and Colorado’s Thompson Divide are permanently protected from the irreversible threats posed by extraction
- Improves recreational access for underserved communities, while protecting vital sources of clean drinking water
- Incorporates more than 1,000 river miles into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System (NWSRS)
The package includes two bills authored by members of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis:
- Rep. Jared Huffman's Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act
- Rep. Joe Neguse's Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act
It also makes significant progress on solutions included in the Select Committee's Solving The Climate Crisis majority staff report, including recommendations to:
- Protect at least 30% of all U.S. lands and ocean areas by 2030 ('30x30')
- Protect special places from drilling, mining, and related activities
- Put environmental justice at the center of federal climate & environmental policies
- Increase the capacity of EJ communities to participate in the policy-making process
More information on the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act is available here.
- 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.