Washington, D.C. — Today, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) was joined by White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Brenda Mallory, Florida State Rep. Ben Diamond, Colorado State Rep. Leslie Herod, and Boise Mayor Lauren McLean to discuss the administration’s America the Beautiful initiative and a special report from LCV highlighting recent state and local conservation leadership toward protecting 30% of America’s lands, water, and ocean by 2030 (30×30).
The Biden-Harris administration has committed to ambitious conservation goals, including to protect 30×30. As part of this effort, Chair Mallory helped develop the administration’s America the Beautiful initiative with the U.S. Departments of the Interior, Agriculture and Commerce. With it comes a ten year commitment to support local conservation and restoration of private, public and tribal lands, with a focus on building up the economy and addressing the climate crisis. Preserving sites of racial and cultural significance, and increasing funding for parks, rivers and the ocean are essential and during the conversation, Chair Mallory further outlined steps we must take to reach these ambitious goals.
This critical federal action will reinforce and support the community-led conservation being championed all across the country. As Mayor McLean and Reps. Diamond and Herod reiterated, and is highlighted in LCV’s special report, states and communities have taken varied approaches to preserving their lands and waters. The report highlights efforts to develop innovative solutions that fit local needs, such as Connecticut’s new Long Island Sound protections and planting five million trees in Maryland. States are working to make access to nature more equitable and preserve places that better reflect the racial diversity of our country, with Colorado and New Mexico funding outdoor education and recreation programs for underserved youth while Virginia passed a new bill to better document and preserve historic African American sites. The report documents how states across the country are also increasing funding for parks and public lands and waters that were used more than ever during the pandemic.
“President Biden’s decision to set a national conservation goal for the next decade is historic and his call to action to confront the nature and climate crises is urgently needed. America the Beautiful is offering a much-needed chance to summon our nation’s shared love for our common home, do more to safeguard the places we love, support local economies, and leave our country stronger and healthier for generations to come. We are eager to build on the progress of state and local leaders to meet our national goal in America the Beautiful, and expand nature’s reach in a just and equitable way for all,” said CEQ Chair Brenda Mallory.
“America is rapidly losing its natural lands to harmful development and now more than ever we need bold action to preserve these spaces for future generations, mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, and make access to nature more equitable ,” said LCV’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld. “Thanks to the state and local leaders across the country who are leading the way in these efforts. We must build on this state and local foundation and are counting on the Biden-Harris administration to play a key role in protecting America the Beautiful — it’s going to take all of us.”
“The City of Boise is proud to participate in the America the Beautiful Initiative with a set of unique goals to preserve land and water for generations to come,” said Boise Mayor Lauren McLean. “These actionable steps promote natural habitat protection, an increase in Boise’s tree canopy, and encourage residents to get involved in conservation efforts. It’s up to all of us to do what we can to preserve the environment and combat climate change in our communities.”
“From our majestic peaks, to our towering sand dunes, Colorado is well-known for its natural beauty. I am committed to ensuring equitable access to these spaces for all communities,” said Colorado Representative Leslie Herod. “Our bill establishes the Colorado Outdoor Equity Grant Program, and will go a long way in continuing conservation efforts and addressing the historic and systemic barriers preventing equitable access to nature. We must lift up the voices calling for climate action in every community — including BIPOC communities– and ensure that every level of government takes it seriously and does its part. I look forward to continuing this work with my colleagues and with the Biden-Harris administration to meet our shared and necessary goals.”
“Florida is home to some of the most unique and amazing ecosystems on the planet. Our beaches, springs, forests and wetlands are an important part of what makes our state so special,” said Florida Representative Ben Diamond. “These precious resources also form the backbone of our state and local economies, and provide jobs and incomes to countless Floridians. Protecting our environment is crucial, and I was proud to help secure record funding this year for land conservation in Florida. I look forward to building upon this success in 2022, and working with the Biden Administration, the League of Conservation Voters, and other key stakeholders to make our 30×30 goal a reality.”
The 30×30 initiative is widely supported by local elected officials and communities across the country. This year LCV helped organize bipartisan letters of support from more than 70 mayors across the country and 450 state and local elected officials. The Mountain Pact recently released a report highlighting local action taken by Western communities in support of reaching the goal of 30×30 . More information about 30×30 is available here: https://www.natureamerica.org/