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Press Release

Committee Seeks Answers on Natural Capital Accounting, Dangers of Monetizing Nature

  • OI Subcommittee

Today, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held an oversight hearing on the Biden administration's strategy for natural capital accounting scheme and the implications of these policies. Subcommittee Chairman Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) issued the following statement in response:

"By sidestepping Congress, the Biden Administration failed to take into account the impact of implementing these policies would have on our public lands while potentially turning over access to important resources to foreign governments."


Natural capital accounting is a method of accounting for and assessing the stock of renewable and non-renewable resources (e.g., plants, animals, air, water, soils and minerals) that provide benefits to people. Relatedly, ecosystem services valuation places a dollar amount on the direct and indirect benefits that flow to humans from ecosystems.

On Jan. 19, 2023, the Biden administration released a national strategy for natural capital accounting and ecosystem services valuation, the "National Strategy to Develop Statistics for Environmental-Economic Decisions: A U.S. System of Natural Capital Accounting and Environmental Economic Statistics" (National Strategy for Natural Capital Accounting). This strategy is modeled on a system developed by the United Nations.

While establishing fair accounting standards is essential for financial activity, critics argue that fair, objective accounting standards cannot be adopted to account for natural capital and ecosystem services. Instead, many believe schemes, like Biden’s National Strategy for Natural Capital Accounting, are simply ways to monetize nature with subjective accounting methods. Moreover, both the left and right have raised concerns that natural capital accounting and ecosystem services valuation could shift decisions regarding the use and control of land from local communities and stakeholders to financial elites and foreign interests.

Concerningly, the Biden administration has implemented its strategy and corresponding guidance to federal agencies without proper consideration of the widespread implications. Additionally, the Biden administration has issued recent guidance to agencies directing them to account for ecosystem services in benefit-cost analysis, which could have a tremendous influence on federal actions and policy outcomes. 

Even though these updates could significantly influence over agency action and federal rulemaking, the Biden administration has left Congress with major questions and concerns about their impact to our public lands and resources. Perhaps most alarmingly, the Biden administration is attempting to bypass Congress and use natural capital accounting and ecosystem services valuation to support its partisan, anti-use agenda to limit access to America's natural resources. 

Today's hearing was an opportunity for committee members to learn more about the implications of these practices and hear from witnesses about the risks that natural capital accounting and ecosystem services valuation pose to America's resources and public lands.

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