Good as news: positive environmental stories you may have missed

Media Contacts
Arielle Ostry

Josh Chetwynd

Environment America

The Public Interest Network’s Environment America and PIRG work on multiple campaigns to ensure the country’s policies and practices create a cleaner, safer, better world for all of us. This monthly newsletter highlights recent good news on the environmental front — both from the work we do and elsewhere. If you have suggestions or comments, please email Arielle Ostry ([email protected]) or Josh Chetwynd ([email protected]). 

Biden administration restores key protections for monuments

Oct. 8 was a great day for Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts as the Biden administration restored protections to these three North American natural wonders. 

Under the Trump administration, the boundaries of Bears Ears diminished by 85%, Grand-Staircase Escalante was cut in half, and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts were opened to commercial fishing. President Joe Biden’s move will ensure these national monuments can become safe havens for native wildlife once again. 

“Our country has a long history of ensuring ‘America the Beautiful’ exists for generations to come,” said Steve Blackledge, Environment America’s senior conservation program director. “Because all three of these monuments protect biodiversity and critical habitat, this victory will help the United States move closer to protecting 30 percent of our important lands and waters.”

A bold plan to go big on offshore wind

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced a new plan for offshore wind development this month. Under the plan, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management could hold up to seven new lease sales in the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf Coast for offshore wind projects by 2025.

This move by the Interior Department is a key step forward in ensuring our country takes full advantage of its vast — and at the moment largely untapped — offshore wind potential. 

“The nation’s first utility-scale offshore wind farm was only just approved earlier this year, and we are eager to see more projects follow in its path,” said Hannah Read, Environment America’s federal clean energy associate. “The secretary’s proposed leasing plan puts us on our way to meeting the Biden administration’s goal to install 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030.”

New 3,200-foot buffer zone set around fossil fuel extraction sites in California

In the interest of public health and safety, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that oil and gas extraction sites in California will be required to have a 3,200-foot buffer zone.

Proposed by the California Geologic Energy Management Division, this rule will ensure new oil and gas drilling sites are a far distance from schools, neighborhoods and businesses, protecting communities from the harmful pollutants produced by these sites. 

“Oil and gas extraction is happening startlingly close to homes, schools, hospitals and places of worship, leading to increased risk of asthma, complications during pregnancy and elevated cancer risk,” said Laura Deehan, Environment California’s state director. “But with these new rules, California will now have the strongest safety buffer zone in the country at 3,200 feet.”   

What else we’re celebrating:

  • Biden administration protects Boundary Waters: Both the Interior and Agriculture departments announced they started the process to protect a wilderness area in Minnesota, stalling efforts to build a controversial copper-nickel mine. The Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area is one of the most-visited wilderness areas in the nation with 1,200 miles of canoe routes and 2,000 campsites. 

  • Port of San Diego set to electrify: The port’s board of commissioners announced a goal to electrify freight trucks, cranes and even some tugboats by 2030. This far surpasses goals previously set by other California localities and will work to decrease the harmful air pollution emitted by vehicles at the port. 

  • Protections restored for wildlife through the Endangered Species Act (ESA): The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it would do away with two rollbacks to the ESA handed down during the Trump administration. Doing this is a necessary step in restoring federal conservation initiatives. 

  • Paris invests in cycling infrastructure: The French capital is expanding its network of bike lanes and tripling parking for cyclists throughout the city in an effort to make a zero-carbon option of moving about the city both safe and efficient. 

Looking for even more uplifting environmental content?

Environment America also has our Greener Together project. The project aims to help us all foster a stronger connection with the natural world and with each other. The initiative includes engaging events, fun activities and helpful guides for both adults and children.


Environment America is a national network with affiliates in 29 states. Our staff and members work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment.