In New Letter, Chair Grijalva and Congressional Dems Support Biden Conservation Efforts, Urge Stronger “America The Beautiful” to Fight Climate Change

Washington, D.C. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) led a letter with 17 House Democratic colleagues today to President Joe Biden in support of the administration’s climate-focused America the Beautiful Initiative and to offer suggestions to strengthen the program.  

The full letter is available online at https://bit.ly/3gu6HJ6.

The lawmakers offer full support for the new direction laid out in the administration’s America the Beautiful initiative to fight the climate crisis by restoring at least 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030. The authors voice particular appreciation for the Initiative’s focus on equity, supporting tribal communities, and listening to stakeholders.  

They offer suggestions to strengthen the program, asking the administration to continue working with Congress throughout the appropriations process and through further authorizations. They write in part, “We believe that through the incorporation of these suggestions, your administration will be able to maximize the full potential of the America the Beautiful Initiative.”

The suggestions provided include:  

  • Developing a clear, actionable, and measurable plan for achieving targeted conservation outcomes, and provide Congress with a roadmap of staffing and resource needs to achieve these goals.  
  • Providing additional operational funding and increase staffing at the relevant land and resource management agencies.  
  • Empowering Federal agencies and ensure a vested role and direct responsibility to engage with stakeholders.  
  • Funding badly needed land and coastal restoration efforts on public and private lands across the country, with a focus on community climate resilience.
  • Targeting Conservation Investments to climate-critical ecosystems.  
  • Supporting Funding for Environmental Justice communities.  
  • Protecting key wildlife corridors and connectivity between protected areas.  
  • Providing additional funding for agency planning.  
  • Providing funding for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews, and ensure all communities are heard.  
  • Funding mapping efforts and improve the utilization of geospatial data in a manner that goes beyond a Conservation and Stewardship Atlas. 
  • Supporting a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) led inventory and continual monitoring of land and resource conditions.  

Chair Grijalva has long sought conservation solutions to fight climate change and has introduced several landmark climate change bills. In May, Grijalva voiced his support for President Biden’s American the Beautiful Initiative when it was unveiled, saying, “The new policy approach 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.” 

The letter was cosigned by Representatives Grace F. Napolitano (D-Calif.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Lori Trahan (D-Mass.), Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), Gregorio Sablan (D-CNMI), Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Katie Porter (D-Calif.), Mike Levin (D-Calif.), Darren Soto (D-Fla.), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Ed Case (D-Hawaii), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.).