Moments ago, President Biden took bold executive action by signing a slate of executive orders that would help to protect America’s national parks and public lands and tackle the climate crisis. Specifically, the president ordered a pause on new oil and gas leasing on federal land and laid out a ten-year goal of conserving 30% of US land and waters.

In reaction to the announcement, Phil Francis, Chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, explained:

 “We welcome President Biden’s executive action today. This is a positive step forward as we work to protect our parks and public lands, tackle climate change, and fix our broken oil and gas leasing system. The President’s recent and bold executive orders are exactly what we need. 

“By pausing new oil and gas leasing on federal lands, President Biden has signaled that he recognizes how broken this system is and that we cannot ensure the protection of our irreplaceable natural and cultural resources, address climate change, and expand access to clean air and water without Congress enacting significant reforms in federal oil and gas leasing practices. Additional steps, such as well-reasoned regulations and policies, and an exploration of modifications to existing leases that would reduce impacts, will be needed to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions, and have a measurable effect at slowing the well-documented impacts of climate change on park resources. 

“We also applaud the goals of identifying steps to double renewable energy production from offshore wind by 2030; and protecting 30% of U.S. lands and waters as a cost-efficient way to combat global warming and protect our natural treasures and wildlife, including those protected by our national parks.

“The President’s actions today are an important first step in protecting our national parks from of the worsening impacts of climate change and guaranteeing that all Americans will have access to our treasured outdoor spaces for generations to come. We look forward to working with the Biden administration on executing an ambitious agenda.”

Earlier this week, the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks sent a letter to President Biden and Secretary-designate Haaland endorsing Biden’s campaign pledge to pause new oil and gas drilling on public lands and waters. The letter was signed by hundreds of former National Park Service employees, including superintendents and regional leaders.

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