Plan Highlights How Restoration, Resilience Investments Would Put Americans Back to Work, Protect Communities, Act on Climate

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Wildlife Federation unveiled an ambitious proposal to put roughly 3.5 million people to work restoring our country’s lands and waters in order to safeguard clean air and water; protect communities from wildfires, hurricanes and flooding; and save wildlife. The National Wildlife Federation urged Congress to swiftly adopt the $208 billion plan as part of an economic stimulus and recovery program.

“Our nation faces a number of urgent crises: more than 10 million Americans out of work, megafires rage in the West while stronger hurricanes batter our coastlines, abandoned oil wells and coal mines emit methane and threaten clean water sources, and one-third of wildlife species are at heightened risk of extinction. We have the opportunity to tackle these interconnected challenges by investing in our nation’s forests, grasslands, wetlands and coastal communities while creating more than 3.5 million good-paying jobs in some of our nation’s most economically distressed communities, sequestering hundreds of millions of tons of carbon, and making communities more resilient,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Not only will this put people to work, it will leave communities safer and our lands and waters better off than we found them.”

Members of Congress see the needs from their home states and districts to put people to work restoring our land and water and safeguarding our communities.  

“It's never been more important to ensure public lands and the communities that surround them have the resources and investments they need to help create jobs, increase economic activity, and protect the public lands we all cherish. We all must be good stewards of our public lands to ensure our children and grandchildren can enjoy the wild and wonderful outdoor spaces of America for generations to come,” said Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “There is much more work to be done and I look forward to working together to make smart investments that marry tackling climate change and conserving our irreplaceable public lands with a reinvigoration of our economy and putting people back to work, particularly in those areas hardest hit by the transition to a clean energy future.”

“This report confirms what we’ve known for some time – that investing in the protection, restoration and management of our public lands creates good jobs and helps combat the climate crisis at the same time,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.). “Cleaning up pollution and preventing it in the future stimulates our economy, makes it possible to enjoy our public lands, and puts us on track to reach our climate goals. This is the kind of agenda that truly benefits every American.”

“Now is the right time to put Americans back to work restoring watersheds in the Pacific Northwest, repairing lands that have been ravaged by wildfire, and ensuring that local communities that have been impacted by fire and severe weather events can be revitalized,” said Representative Mike Simpson (R-Idaho). “The jobs and restoration plan put forth by the National Wildlife Federation is a good example of how to tackle these issues to create millions of jobs, while ensuring our public lands, waters, and wildlife thrive for generations to come.”

“Millions of good paying jobs can be created restoring our nation's watersheds, forests and grasslands. We know that restoration investments generate more jobs compared to other alternatives, because most of the investment goes towards labor, rather than materials,” said Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.). “The National Wildlife Federation’s robust plan calls for a 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps, which would train and employ millions of young Americans while simultaneously helping communities to be more resilient to megafires, flooding and hurricanes.” 

“We can put millions of Americans back to work restoring our unique natural landscapes, including wetlands, reefs, dunes, and natural floodplains,” said House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Chair Kathy Castor (D-Fla.). “This new report shows how we can invest in locally-developed restoration projects, while increasing our ecosystems’ natural ability to reduce carbon pollution and creating good-paying jobs along the way. I commend the National Wildlife Federation for their continued leadership, as we protect America’s land and waters for future generations.” 

The restoration and resilience plan calls for the following:

  • Creating a 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps, which will put Americans to work revitalizing our nations lands and waters
  • Restoring national forests to mitigate wildfires, safeguard clean water, and increase nature’s ability to store carbon
  • Capping tens of thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells to protect groundwater and reduce methane emissions
  • Cleaning up 140,000 abandoned hardrock mines and tens of thousands of abandoned coal mines which threaten human and wildlife health
  • Funding for state, private and Tribal forestry programs to reduce the risk and severity of wildfires
  • Restoring watersheds to protect coastal and floodplain communities to make them more resilient to extreme weather events and disasters
  • Recovering more than 12,000 imperiled wildlife species through habitat restoration, natural infrastructure and research
  • Repairing the sagebrush steppe and grasslands to reverse the downward spiral of bird populations, increase water resources, and improve carbon storage
  • Investing in partnerships with farmers and ranchers to create habitat for wildlife, improve soil and water quality, and revitalize rural communities
  • Increasing outdoor recreation opportunities to make access to parks more equitable, to expand access for hunting and angling, and to stimulate rural economies 
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