Video of Remarks Can be Viewed Here

Today, White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Brenda Mallory delivered virtual opening remarks for Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2021’s opening plenary, “Centering Justice and Equity in Ocean and Great Lakes Conservation.” Chair Mallory’s remarks can be read below and her remarks can be viewed here

Chair Mallory’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow:

Good Morning.

Thank you for inviting me to Capitol Hill Ocean Week.

This is always such a fun week, and I look forward to being able to gather together in person next year.

For those of you I haven’t met, I’m Brenda Mallory and I am the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

I’m tremendously honored to take on this role in an Administration that is prioritizing climate action and environmental justice.

As you know, conserving and restoring the lands and waters that support and sustain us is an important aspect to addressing both climate change and environmental injustice. 

That’s why last month, President Biden announced the “America the Beautiful” Initiative, a locally-led, nationally-scaled effort to conserve and restore at least 30 percent of our nation’s lands and waters by 2030.

President Biden’s decision to set a national conservation goal for the next decade is historic.

Never before has a president outlined a vision of this kind, and certainly not this early in an administration.

The President’s call to action is urgently needed—climate change is reshaping our lands, and our oceans and coasts.

And President Biden’s early commitments for ocean and coastal environments are so important.

These commitments include expansions of Sanctuaries, habitat restoration, and Estuary Research Reserves.

It also includes collaborative work with the Fishery Management Councils, and continued efforts to support at-risk species.

After more than a year of pandemic – in which many Americans, (myself included), found comfort and peace in the outdoors – the President’s vision isoffering us a much-needed chance to summon our nation’s shared love for our common home, do more to safeguard the places we love, and leave our country better, stronger, and healthier for generations to come.

Importantly, this initiative is one that puts equity at the center. 

Too often, our lands and waters have also been places of struggle, inequitable access, and injustice.

When reflecting the best version of ourselves, we are a nation that believes every child should have the chance to experience the wonders of nature.

And that’s what President Biden’s plan will do.

One thing we know is that this initiative will only be successful if we actively engage local, state, and Tribal governments, community members, and a range of other stakeholders.

So that is my ask of you: stay engaged. Continue to offer feedback and guidance as we implement President Biden’s vision.

Our charge is to think broadly and inclusively about how to achieve conservation goals in a way that improves the quality of all Americans’ lives—now and for decades to come.

I am eager to roll up my sleeves and get to work, alongside many of you.

Thank you for the work that you do every single day and thank you for inviting me to join you today.

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