Today the Department of the Interior released their report “Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful,” which outlines the first steps to conserve 30% of lands and waters by 2030. The 30 by 30 conservation initiative is part of President Joe Biden’s directive in Sec. 216 of EO 14008, “Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.” The report outlines big-picture themes for the initiative but was short on details for implications for federal development in lands and waters—a key component to bringing more renewable energy sources like wind and solar online.
The report highlights two areas of short-term focus for the 10-year initiative. First, the Biden administration will create an American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas, which will be led by U.S. Geological Survey, Natural Resources Conservation Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This atlas will help create the criteria for quantifying conservation efforts. Second, the administration will publish annual reports to detail progress on their efforts. Initially, the 30 by 30 initiative will focus its early reporting on its progress towards expanding access to parks and recreation to underserved communities, supporting tribes in their conservation efforts, expanding both land and ocean conservation efforts, incentivizing private conservation and increasing job opportunities through conservation efforts.
The report signals that the administration will make conservation a key priority in its decision-making across several land use and ocean conservation agencies. However, the material impacts of the policy remain unknown. The administration highlighted their commitment to a collaborative and inclusive approach in the making of this initiative. Brownstein will continue to monitor developments and engage with key decisionmakers as the 30 by 30 initiative unfolds.