Statement: Biden administration will make historic commitments to protecting America’s natural heritage

Media Contacts
Kelsey Lamp

Director, Protect Our Oceans Campaign, Environment America Research & Policy Center

President Biden expected to order a pause on oil and gas leasing on all federal lands and waters and make pledge to protect 30 percent of U.S. land and oceans by 2030

Environment America

WASHINGTON — As part of an executive order, President Joe Biden is expected to announce Wednesday a stop on all new drilling in public lands and waters. The president will also set a goal of protecting 30 percent of U.S. lands and oceans by the year 2030. These announcements will fulfill two campaign pledges and serve as part of a larger commitment to conserving nature and addressing an impending extinction crisis.

America is losing two football fields’ worth of land and water every minute. There are 3 billion fewer birds in North America than in 1970, and many iconic animals native to America are now endangered or threatened, including North Atlantic right whales, manatees, polar bears and Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep.

Kelsey Lamp, director of Environment America’s Protect Our Oceans Campaign, issued the following statement:

“This order is an important advancement toward protecting our ocean life and our coastal communities. For generations we’ve seen that oil drilling leads to spilling, and that puts whales, dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life at risk. The expansion of drilling to new parts of our ocean would have exposed ocean habitats and beloved beaches to the risks of oil spills, and put more coastal communities in the pathway of pipelines and oil barges. President Biden’s decision will keep more of our coasts safe from these unacceptable risks.

“Ending offshore drilling in our oceans is critical to maintaining clean, healthy oceans for generations to come. Now, going forward, America must double down on this commitment to protecting coastal communities and the environment. We must make offshore drilling and crude oil spills a thing of the past.”

Environment America Public Lands Director Ellen Montgomery issued the following statement:

“President Biden gets it. America the Beautiful is full of wondrous places and requires the steady hand of stewardship to keep it that way. It’s part of who we are, and, as a result, it’s unsurprising that Americans support safeguarding wild places. By committing to protecting 30 percent of our lands and oceans by 2030, President Biden is giving his fellow Americans a clear vision of how we can keep our little stretch of the planet intact for future generations.”