Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
If you make a contribution of $150 or more, you will become an official “Friend of the Planet” and receive a Friend of the Planet T-shirt or water bottle. You can also submit opinion essays to us for our consideration for posting on our new “Bright Ideas” op-ed page.
Last Friday, Mayor Pete Buttigieg revealed his presidential plan to protect public lands including a stated goal of protecting 30% of all U.S. lands and waters by 2030.
Goals of the proposal include:
Ensuring consistent and robust conservation fundingfor federal land management agencies, states, and tribes–including securing full, permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund,
Strengthening protections for existing public landsunder threat of development from the oil, gas, and mining industries. Many of the areas have been opened for drilling by the Trump administration.
Refocusing the mandate of federal natural resource agencies to manage for conservation and to help solve climate change.
Restoring conservation laws rolled back by the Trump administration including the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act.
Prioritizing environmental justice, equitable access, and diverse representation across America’s public lands by ensuring that outdoor spaces are welcoming to marginalized communities.
Creating a strong commitment to ocean conservation like sustainable fisheries, and the acceleration of responsibly sited offshore wind development.
Including Tribal governments in land management decisions as well as honoring Treaty and Trust responsibilities to Native American Tribes.
Working with farmers, ranchers and landowners to increase sustainable land use.
Work with ranchers, farmers, and private landowners to conserve working lands.
A Retort to Trump: The Buttigieg plan seeks to undo much of the grave damage the Trump administration has done to our public lands and waterways. As the Denver Post explained, the Trump administration has expanded access for oil and gas drilling on public lands and reversed a moratorium on federal-land coal mining that was issued in 2016 by Obama. And it is finalizing plans to reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah.
“Our public lands have shaped who we are as a country. They’re essential to our survival, yet special interests are pillaging these treasured spaces causing untold damage.”
Clean Water: In addition to conservation, this plan sets aside funding to ensure clean drinking water for all Americans. From the plan,
As described in Pete’s infrastructure plan, he will triple the amount of funding for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSmart program to catalyze innovation in wastewater reuse and water efficiency improvement and establish a Water Reuse Advisory Council. The Council will identify innovative models for water conservation and efficiency, such as the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s successful conservation and infrastructure improvement initiatives, and will help disseminate best practices nationwide.
Buttigieg includes a $90 billion investment to ensure safe drinking water infrastructure that will help replace all lead pipes in cities like Flint.
Why This Matters: Protecting 30% of nature by 2030 is a goal that’s been set by the UN and is integral to ensuring that our planet can sustain life as human populations increase. While there’s a lot in Buttigieg’s plan aside from conservation, it’s critical that presidential candidates are talking about nature in the context of their climate and environmental goals.
This particular plan was released the day before the Nevada Caucuses in an effort to present a conservation goal tailored to Western state voters. While Buttigieg finished 3rd on Saturday, this plan (along with recently introduced Senate legislation) is a good roadmap for how the eventual Democratic nominee can incorporate 30 by 30 into his or her platform.
The Washington Post did a beautiful piece on the importance of preserving wildlife corridors in the face of climate change and other man-made threats. Interstate 80 is a vital transportation link that connects the east and west coasts, but it also blocks the historic migration routes through the Rocky Mountains for mule deer, elk, and pronghorn — some of the most iconic species of wildlife in the American West.
Congressional Democrats didn’t get the green strings attached for the airline industry bailout this week, but we can always hope for the next round of stimulus funding. At least the bill’s not bailing out the oil industry? Cartoon by Alex Bowman (check out more of her art here)