Today, President Biden issued an expansive set of executive orders to address the climate crisis, safeguard 30% of our country’s lands and waters by 2030, restore the scientific integrity of federal decision-making, invest in sustainable infrastructure, and deliver justice to communities that have shouldered the brunt of public health and environmental harms.
“We applaud the Biden administration’s visionary and ambitious framework for climate action,” said Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, executive director of the Western Environmental Law Center. “These executive orders create a forward-looking framework to spark long-needed action at the confluence of the climate, pandemic, economic, and racial justice crises facing our country. We look forward to working with the administration to implement this framework and, where necessary, holding them accountable to their commitments to the American people.”
The executive orders will have a positive impact in the Western U.S., heralding a new era of land and water conservation to safeguard the West’s natural heritage and communities, from the Pacific Northwest’s ancient forests and rivers to the Southwest’s sun-drenched mountains, deserts, and grasslands. At the same time, the executive orders will remove threats to these regions by pausing new federal public lands oil and gas leasing on Western U.S. public lands and undercutting the logic of harmful, ill-advised projects, such as the Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal and Pacific Connector Pipeline. Just as importantly, the executive orders will help prevent and remedy environmental injustices while creating new, stable, and good-paying job opportunities for hard-working families in the clean energy sector.
“The Western U.S. is getting hotter and drier. And people are suffering, right now, from increasingly severe wildfires, more intense droughts, extreme weather, and a lack of economic opportunities – especially those that strengthen, rather than compromise our beloved natural heritage. Our way of life hangs in the balance, and climate change amplifies each of these threats,” said Schlenker-Goodrich. “Today’s bold, ‘whole of government’ approach not only tackles the climate crisis head on, but recognizes this challenge can be addressed by investing in the West’s greatest asset—its people. In so doing, today’s executive orders create tangible and actionable hope for present and future generations of Westerners.”