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Hundreds of state and local elected officials are calling on President Joe Biden to lead a speedy, aggressive national effort to combat the climate and extinction crises by protecting 30% of America’s lands and 30% of its waters by 2030.
An open letter to the administration from 450 officials representing 43 states comes as Biden’s team works to dismantle former President Donald Trump’s legacy of rolling back environmental regulations and weakening protections for federal lands and wildlife. Biden also made a campaign promise to establish the 30% by 2030 target, which is in line with the United Nations’ plan for protecting biodiversity, and the president is expected to issue an executive order on it any day now.
A 2018 study from the Center for American Progress found that about 12% of the U.S. landmass and 26% of the nation’s ocean waters were protected.
“Our nation is at a pivotal moment,” the letter said. “We cannot continue down the current path and watch as our nation’s land, water, and biodiversity disappears. Instead, we pledge to confront America’s nature crisis and pursue a national goal of 30x30. Together, we can and must protect nature for generations to come.”
The letter, organized by the left-leaning League of Conservation Voters, includes six specific actions that the signatories say should accompany the 30 by 30 goal, including upholding Native American tribal sovereignty and supporting local and private landowner conservation efforts.
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