October 22, 2019

Harris, Colleagues Introduce Major Resolution to Set National Conservation Goal: Conserve 30% of U.S. Lands and Ocean by 2030

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) on Tuesday joined Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), and 5 of their colleagues in introducing a major Senate resolution to set a national goal of conserving at least 30 percent of the land and 30 percent of the ocean within the territory of the United States by 2030. The resolution recognizes that nature – like climate change – has reached a tipping point. The resolution responds to a growing group of scientists, who say that conserving at least 30% of the ocean and land by 2030 is the minimum step necessary to adequately address the extinction, climate, and biodiversity crisis. In addition to Harris, Udall, and Bennet, the resolution is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

“The United States is facing a climate crisis that has already led to damaged oceans, newly extinct species, and ecosystems in distress. In order to ensure our planet is healthy and hospitable for our children and grandchildren, we must commit ourselves to bold land and ocean conservation efforts,” said Harris. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in calling on the United States to set a goal of conserving at least 30 percent of the land and ocean in our country by 2030. It’s our responsibility to take action before it’s too late.”

The continental United States loses a football field’s worth of natural areas every 30 seconds due to human activity. This loss of nature—accelerated by climate change—is a threat to the nation’s health and prosperity, affecting communities’ clean air, water, and defenses against severe weather, floods, and wildfires. To curb wildlife extinctions, fight climate change, reduce toxic pollution, and safeguard healthy natural systems, the United States must confront the conservation and climate crises head-on.

The resolution will establish a national goal of conserving at least 30 percent of the land and 30 percent of the ocean within the territory of the United States by 2030 by:

  • Working with federal agencies, local communities, Indian Tribes, States, and private landowners to conserve natural places and resources under their control;

 

  • Including public incentives for private landowners to voluntarily conserve and protect areas of demonstrated conservation value and with a high capacity to sequester carbon and greenhouse gas emissions;

 

  • Improving access to nature for all people in the United States, including for communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities;

 

  • Using land and ocean of the United States to sequester and store carbon;

 

  • Focusing work at a large-landscape scale that is biologically and ecologically meaningful;

 

  • Preventing extinction by recovering and restoring animal and plant species;

 

  • Stabilizing ecosystems and the services of ecosystems, restoring degraded ecosystems, and maintaining ecological functions; and

 

  • Increasing economic opportunities for farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and foresters.

The full text of the resolution can be found HERE.

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