Biden’s plan would strengthen conservation of U.S. lands and waters
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Biden administration on Thursday detailed steps to reach an ambitious goal of conserving nearly a third of America’s land and waters by 2030, building on voluntary efforts to preserve the areas public, private and tribal while helping to fight climate change and create jobs.
Click here to read the details of the plan.
A report, with the noble title “America the Beautiful”, ′ Calls for a ten-year commitment to nationwide projects to make land and water conservation and restoration an urgent priority. The plan would purify drinking water, increase green space, improve access to outdoor recreation, restore healthy fisheries, reduce the risk of wildfires, and recognize the “oversized contributions” of farmers, ranchers, farmers. forest owners, fishermen, hunters, rural communities and tribal nations. .
In the process, the effort will produce thousands of new jobs and a stronger economy while climate change and environmental justice, including increased access of disadvantaged communities to the outdoors, according to the report.
President Joe Biden has set a goal of conserving at least 30% of America’s land and waters by 2030. If successful, the plan will help slow global warming and preserve some of the most scenic lands in the world. country for future generations of Americans, according to the report.
About 12% of the country’s land and 25% of its waters are currently protected, according to a study by the Center for American Progress, a left-wing think tank. These protected areas include not only parks, but also wilderness areas, game refuges, farmland, forests, ranches and other sites with conservation easements.
The plan released Thursday recommends a range of actions, including expanding a federal grant program to create local parks, especially in cities and other “nature-deprived communities.” The report also suggests grants for Native American tribes to support tribal conservation priorities; expansion of fish and wildlife habitats and corridors; increased access to outdoor recreation; and the creation of a “Civilian Climate Body” to work on nationwide conservation and restoration projects.
The plan follows a Biden campaign promise and is based on the Great American Outdoors Act, a 2020 law passed by Congress that authorizes nearly $ 3 billion for conservation projects, outdoor recreation, and the upkeep of national parks and other public lands.
Even with this injection of federal dollars, the Biden plan relies heavily on the voluntary conservation efforts of farmers, ranchers, forest owners and fishing communities. No cost estimate for the project was provided. Much of the spending could be done through ministry budgets, as well as the Outdoors Act of 2020, the Farm Bill of 2018, and Biden’s proposed infrastructure plan of $ 2.3 trillion. dollars, officials said.
“The President’s Challenge is a call to action to support locally-led conservation and restoration efforts of all kinds and across America, wherever communities wish to save the lands and waters they know and love. The report says. “This will not only protect our lands and waters, but also stimulate our economy and support jobs across the country.”
The report was signed by three Cabinet members – Home Secretary Deb Haaland, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Trade Secretary Gina Raimondo – with Brenda Mallory, who heads the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
“Nature plays an important role in improving resilience to climate change and creating a thriving economy,” Haaland said at a press conference Thursday.
White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy said the Great Outdoors Act, which funds the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund and targets a growing maintenance backlog in national parks, was a ” deposit ”on the conservation initiative. The law authorizes $ 900 million per year for this fund and an additional $ 1.9 billion per year for the improvement of parks, forests, wildlife refuges and pastures.
“There are many tools available to us” to fund the conservation program, McCarthy said. The report is just the “starting point” on the road to realizing Biden’s conservation vision, Ms. Biden and other officials said.
“The direction of this path over the next decade will be determined not by our agencies, but by the ideas and leadership of local communities,” Cabinet officials said in the report. “It is our duty to listen, learn and provide support along the way to … pass on healthy lands, waters and wildlife to future generations.
Environmental and outdoor groups have welcomed the initiative.
“The bottom line is that healthier public lands and waters mean more opportunities for Americans to recreate outdoors and for community economies to thrive,” said Jessica Turner, Executive Director of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, a coalition representing a range of outdoor businesses.
Alex Taurel of the League of Conservation Voters added: “We are very much in agreement to help meet and exceed ‘Biden’s target’ to tackle the climate crisis and expand access to nature in America. beautiful.”
Chris Wood, chairman of Trout Unlimited, a fisheries conservation group, said, “There’s a lot to like” about Biden’s initiative, especially its focus on local actions. “A bunch of directives from the top will not get us where we need to go,” he said in an interview.
Arrangements to protect landscapes and improve resilience against drought, forest fires and floods are crucial, Wood said, noting that natural disasters “do not respect the bounds of wilderness” or the bounds of wilderness. property. He pledged to work with the administration to develop more detailed plans.
Senator Steve Daines, R-Mont., Said the report “uses vague buzzwords” and does not address his concern that “this is nothing but an effort to lock down the land, which will hurt Montana’s farmers and ranchers and cut jobs. “Daines, a co-sponsor of the Great Outdoors Act, accused Biden of” pushing ambiguous political ambitions driven by titles rather than results. “