Washington, D.C. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz) today said the newly announced “America the Beautiful” campaign provides a stark contrast between the Biden administration’s commitment to conservation and sustainable job creation on the one hand and the Trump administration’s destructive drill-everywhere obsession on the other. The new policy approach, Grijalva said, will combine with the American Jobs Plan to build a more sustainable economy and preserve valuable landscapes and seascapes across the country for the long term.
“America the Beautiful and the programs consistent with this approach will build the economy our country has needed for a long time,” Grijalva said today. “The days of looking across the great American landscape and seaboards and seeing nothing but fossil fuel profits are over. If we do this right, from now on Americans can look at their country and see cleaner air and water, better preserved natural wildlife habitats, clean and accessible urban parks for millions of Americans to enjoy, and a workforce dedicated to expanding on these achievements for future generations.”
The Natural Resources Committee is pursuing a number of legislative efforts supportive of the “America the Beautiful” effort, including Rep. Diana DeGette’s (D-Colo.) Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act, which passed the House on Feb. 26; Rep. Joe Neguse’s (D-Colo.) Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act; and Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán’s (D-Calif.) bill to establish a Parks, Jobs and Equity Program at the Department of the Interior to enhance urban parks development.
The Committee expects to consider and support other bills consistent with the America the Beautiful approach when they are introduced later this Congress, including the Outdoors for All Act, which Vice President Kamala Harris sponsored in the Senate in the previous Congress, and the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act, introduced in the previous Congress by Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.).
The key to making federal conservation goals work, Grijalva said, will be job creation commensurate with the demand for all kinds of land management and ecosystem protection work. Coastal restoration and urban park construction, he said, will be just as crucial as preservation of wilderness, farmland and inland waterways.
The “America the Beautiful” approach is a stark contrast to the Trump administration’s widely panned “energy dominance” policy, which weakened pollution standards and encouraged more drilling and mining on public lands and waters all over the country. His administration rolled back more than 100 environmental standards in just a single term, making him one of the most environmentally destructive presidents in the modern era.
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