Biden reached conservation records in 2023

Dec 21, 2023

new analysis by the Center for American Progress (CAP) of President Joe Biden’s first three years in office shows some big wins for public lands, along with more opportunities to make progress in 2024.

CAP’s analysis finds that the Biden administration has conserved over 24 million acres of public lands and has funneled over $18 billion to federal, state, local, and Tribal conservation efforts over the last three years. In 2023 alone, the administration conserved more than 12.5 million acres and channeled $7.5 billion toward conservation programs across the country. “No other president has channeled as much toward conservation projects across the nation,” the report says.

The report acknowledges the administration’s progress through its America the Beautiful initiative to conserve 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030 in part by highlighting five national monument designations enacted by President Biden since October 2022 that have protected 1.5 million acres, as well as the president’s 2021 proclamation restoring to their original size the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah.

In addition, the report identifies more opportunities to make progress, including finalizing BLM’s draft public lands rule that seeks to elevate conservation on par with recreation, energy development, and livestock grazing, and President Biden’s opportunity to approve the proposed expansions of the Berryessa Snow Mountain and San Gabriel Mountains national monuments in California, and designate the 440,000-acre Great Bend of the Gila national monument in Arizona.

Happy Holidays!

The Center for Western Priorities team is taking a break for the holidays. Look West will be back in your inbox on Wednesday, January 3rd. Wishing you a safe and festive holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Quick hits

Biden reached conservation records in 2023

Center for American Progress analysis & report | E&E News

Want to avoid crowds in national parks? Visit during winter

National Geographic

Republicans ask U.S. Supreme Court to review Antiquities Act case

E&E News

Arizona has gone decades without groundwater regulations. That could soon change.

Inside Climate News

As Congress breaks for the holidays, public lands legislation continues to languish

KJZZ

The tough job of calculating how much carbon forests store

The Conversation

California is re-examining decades-old claims to its water

New York Times

The most hilarious (and scathing) national park reviews of 2023

Outside

Quote of the day

The administration should not be shy in utilizing every tool at its disposal as it approaches 2024. Doing so will put communities first and keep the country on track toward achieving 30×30.”

—Sam Zeno, Policy Analyst at Center for American Progress

Picture This

A bear sitting on a shoreline at with paws together while looking off to the side (possibly contemplating that email from Shelia asking about scheduling a meeting to discuss scheduling more meetings).

@NatlParkService

When you’re patiently waiting for that moment when you can tell others, “sounds like a 2024 problem.”

Unbearable.

Featured image: President Biden signs the declaration establishing Baaj Nwaavjo I’Tah Kukveni—Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument. Source: Advisory Council on Historic Preservation