and Our Environment
The President has taken unprecedented action to build the foundation for a clean energy economy, tackle the issue of climate change, and protect our environment.
The Obama Administration is committed to protecting the air we breathe, water we drink, and the land that supports and sustains us. From restoring ecosystems in the Chesapeake Bay and the Everglades, to reducing mercury pollution from power plants, we are bringing together Federal agencies to tackle America’s greatest environmental challenges.
Supporting Land Conservation
The President established the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to foster a 21st century approach to conservation that responds to priorities of the American people. When he signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, President Obama marked the most extensive expansion of land and water conservation in more than a generation, designating more than 2 million acres of federal wilderness, thousands of miles of trails, and protecting more than 1,000 miles of rivers. In addition, the President has used his authority under the Antiquities Act 11 times to permanently preserve some of America’s most treasured landscapes, most recently designating the Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico.
Wilderness, parks, forests, monuments, and other public lands help support local economies through tourism. Recent estimates also show that over $50 billion were added to the economy from visits to public lands in 2012 alone. In fact, a recent study says that this national monument could double the number of visitors to the region and help grow the local economy by more than 70%. Protected public lands also attract businesses interested in relocating to areas with beautiful scenery, outdoor opportunities, and a high quality of life. These businesses can bring high-paying jobs, which helps explain why, on average, western non-metro counties’ per capita income increases when there is more protected public land in the area. The outdoor recreation industry supports 6.1 million jobs nationwide.
Protecting Our Oceans
The health of our oceans is under threat on multiple fronts, from overfishing to carbon pollution. President Obama has established the first comprehensive National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, our Coasts, and the Great Lakes. The National Ocean Policy helps us prioritize our efforts and resources to address the most critical issues facing our oceans and establishes a comprehensive, collaborative, regionally based planning process to ensure healthy ocean and coastal resources for the many communities and economies that rely on and enjoy them.
America's oceans and coastal regions support tens of millions of jobs and contribute trillions of dollars a year to the national economy. In June of 2014, the President announced new steps to protect world-class marine areas as well as a comprehensive program to combat illegal fishing and support fishermen.
Prioritizing Clean Water
The Administration is taking comprehensive action to ensure the integrity of the waters Americans rely on every day for drinking, swimming, and fishing, and that support farming, recreation, tourism and economic growth. We have issued draft Federal guidance to clarify which waters are protected by the Clean Water Act nationwide; launched innovative partnerships and programs to improve water quality and water efficiency; and created initiatives to revitalize communities and economies by restoring rivers and critical watersheds. The Administration has also proposed to modernize the guidelines that govern Federal water resource planning, calling for water resources projects based on sound science, improved transparency, and consideration of the variety of community benefits of projects.
Restoring Our Treasured Great Ecosystems
Working Toward Environmental Justice
Because we all deserve the chance to live, learn, and work in healthy communities, the Obama administration is committed to ensuring that communities overburdened by pollution – particularly minority, low-income and indigenous communities – have the opportunity to enjoy the health and economic benefits of a clean environment. After more than a decade of inaction, the Administration reconvened the Environmental Justice Interagency Working Group and engaged more than 100 environmental justice leaders at a White House forum. Federal agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding formally committing to environmental justice, and have since taken steps to integrate environmental justice into federal decision-making and programs in areas such as transportation, labor, health services, housing and others.
- October 16, 2014 at 12:57 PM EDT
- October 13, 2014 at 11:30 AM EDT
- October 10, 2014 at 5:37 PM EDT