$3 Billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act

In April 2021, New York State took a major step forward for the environment by approving the annual budget which includes provision for a $3 billion bond, the Restore Mother Nature Bond Act. It will be placed on the ballot for approval by voters in the November 2022 general election.

If approved by voters, projects that would be funded include:

  • Water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure
  • Open space land conservation and recreation
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Environmental Justice

Find out more about the ballot initiative in this Riverkeeper blog post.

Protecting Public Lands and Rivers

On February 26, 2021, the House of Representatives passed the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act. It now awaits action by the Senate. This act designates several new wilderness areas, protects portions of rivers as components of the National Wild and Scenic River System (NWSRS), expands some existing National Monuments and National Recreation Areas, and permanently bans new mining claims around the Grand Canyon, while helping to protect the clean water resources critical to the livelihoods of local tribal communities.

These designations will further the goal of protecting 30% of the country’s lands and waters by 2030 (see below) and will also help further the Administration’s focus on advancing environmental justice by improving access to clean water, clean air, and healthy outdoor recreation, while supporting local economies and historically underserved communities.

Executive Order on Climate – 30X30

On January 27, 2021, President Joe Biden issued a far-reaching Executive Order on Climate with ambitious environmental and conservation goals. Among the many areas within this Executive Order is a section (216 – Conserving Our Nation’s Lands and Waters) to support ’30X30” i.e. protection of at least 30% of the country’s land and water by 2030. Why is this important? Under the pressures of population growth, increasing consumption, habitat destruction, and rising temperatures, species have been disappearing alarmingly fast, going extinct at 100 to 1,000 times the normal rate seen over the past millions of years.

In a major May 2019 biodiversity report, the UN warned that 1 million species are at risk of extinction across the world. To protect biodiversity and mitigate climate change impacts, ambitious conservation goals are necessary to fight climate change and to protect the estimated one million species at risk of going extinct. When done well, protected areas provide durable and equitable benefits to people, biodiversity, and habitats.