Politics Padilla introduces bill to expand California public lands
The Pressure of Being California’s First Latino Senator
Alex Padilla, who filled Kamala Harris’s seat, is hoping to speak for his fellow Latinos. That won’t be easy.“Who is it that they’re referring to? Latinos coming from Mexico to California to work?” Padilla thought. “That’s the big threat?” The people in the ad could just as easily have been his family, so when the time came to protest anti-immigrant legislation in the state, he eagerly joined. Padilla and his mom gathered a group of neighbors to attend the massive 1994 demonstration in downtown Los Angeles against a ballot referendum that would limit immigrants’ access to public services. In doing so, he put himself on a path that would lead him to the Senate.
Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) introduced legislation on Monday that would expand California's public lands, designating or expanding protections for more than one million acres.
The bill, which builds on legislation written by Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), would add 109,143 new acres to the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, which then-President Obama designated in 2014.
The monument was one of 24 covered by a 2017 executive order by then-President Trump that mandated a review of national monuments. The move prompted alarm and condemnation among locals and elected officials in the area, including Chu, one of the biggest backers of the monument designation.
Biden's plan would boost conservation of US lands, waters
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is outlining a plan to sharply increase conservation of public lands and waters over the next decade. A report to be issued Thursday recommends a series of steps to achieve a nationwide goal to conserve 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030. Titled "America the Beautiful,'' the report calls for a decade-long effort to support voluntary conservation and restoration efforts on public, private and tribal lands and waters from Maine to California as well as in Alaska and Hawaii.
"There was an attempt to undo [the monument] under the Trump administration. We couldn't let that be taken away," Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis (D) said at a news conference Monday announcing the bill,to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
In addition to expanding the monument, the bill would protect 245,000 acres on the state's central coast and another 317,000 in Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties. Overall, the bill provides for nearly 600,000 acres of new wilderness, according to Padilla's office.
"Our public lands are one of our state's greatest gifts - from the San Gabriel Mountains, to the Central Coast, and through Northwestern California's forests and rivers. It is incumbent upon us to be thoughtful stewards of these special places so that our communities can enjoy them and benefit from America's natural resources for generations to come," Padilla said in a.
"And we must do so in a way that reverses racial and economic disparities in access to nature and parks," he added. "Some of the protected land in this bill serves densely populated areas of the state that don't have equal access to nature, which will help rebalance this historic disparity in access to untouched wilderness."
The bill comes as the Biden administration is in the midst of a review of the Trump administration's shrinking of two other national monuments in Utah. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland visited the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments in April following a January executive order by the president.
Op-Ed: President Biden, take the next step at Grand Staircase-Escalante .
The Biden administration's 30x30 conservation plan demands restoration of the two Utah national monuments that President Trump eviscerated.If America is truly committed to 30x30, we’ll need to protect vast portions of the Colorado Plateau, the canyon country spanning the Four Corners between the Rockies and the Southwest deserts. In southern Utah, park planners have recognized the worthiness and wildness of these one-of-a-kind canyonlands ever since they proposed a gigantic Escalante National Monument in the 1930s.