Can the U.S. Preserve 30 Percent of its Lands and Waters?

The Biden administration released its preliminary report on a plan to conserve 30 percent of the nation's lands and waters by 2030, one big, ambitious component of the administration's climate plans.

May 9, 2021, 11:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Bureau of Land Management

The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area near Las Vegas in Nevada. | Zack Frank / Shutterstock

The goal, included in a January 27, 2021 executive order laying out the administration's agenda on climate change, was further explained this week with the release of the 22-page "America the Beautiful" report prepared by the departments of Commerce, Interior, and Agriculture. The document "laid out broad principles — but few details — for achieving that vision," according to the article.

Kaplan and Eilperin report the details offered in a press call with White House National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy, who describes the effort as the first national conservation goal set by the United States.

However, most of the article focuses on the report's lack of specific plans. According to the article, "the new report doesn’t identify specific places for enhanced protection, define what level of conservation would be required for an area to count toward the administration’s 30 percent goal or indicate how much federal funding would be needed to make Biden’s vision a reality."

As noted in the article, some of that ambiguity is by design. "Some environmentalists said that it would be impractical to make that assessment at this point, and that it will take time to muster the kind of grass-roots support needed to achieve such a sweeping conservation goal," write Kaplan and Eilperin.

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