CVI: Our Take on Pres. Biden’s Plans for Climate Change, Public Lands

front of White House in D.C.

Idaho can be the clean energy blueprint for the country to follow.

Rialin Flores, Executive Director of Conservation Voters for Idaho, released the following statements in response to the new administration’s executive orders today related to climate change and public lands and waters.  

“Idahoans from both sides of the aisle deeply value our public lands, clean air and water, and vast open spaces. Our state has shown strong leadership in defending these values that we hold most dear, both on a local, county, and state level. Our largest cities, counties, and utilities have all committed to 100% clean energy, and we are excited to see this start being done at the federal level. In addition, Idaho industries and Idaho National Lab are continuing to lead on clean energy solutions and creating clean energy jobs. As the new administration looks for the right path on building a clean energy economy, states like Idaho can help write the blueprint the country can follow.”

Since 2019, Idaho has shown tremendous progress on climate action policies, including: 

  • Idaho’s largest utilities, Idaho Power and Avista Utilities (2019), commit to clean electricity by 2045;
  • Idaho’s largest city, Boise, commits to 100% clean energy by 2035 and 100% renewable powered city operations by 2030 (2019-2020);
  • City of Pocatello (2019) and City of Meridian (2020) pass resolutions to formally support the 2045 goal outlined by Idaho Power;
  • Blaine County (2020), Ketchum (2020), Hailey (2020) pass 100% clean energy commitments. 

Protecting clean air and water and open space are part of our identity as Idahoans, and voters continue to vote for elected officials who will act on behalf of these values,” said Flores. 

Another centerpiece of today’s announcement is a commitment to protect 30% of our nation’s land and water by 2030—known as 30×30—and to do so in an inclusive way that brings all stakeholders to the table and leaves no communities behind. 

The Land and Water Conservation Fund, a national fund that generates non-taxpayer dollars to all 50 states for conservation and wildlife projects, will be a critical tool for achieving these goals. LWCF was permanently funded last year through the Great American Outdoors Act. Idaho’s Congressman Mike Simpson co-sponsored and supported the House version of the bill. 

Today’s announcements from the Biden administration include: 

  • Committing to 100% clean electricity by 2035, stronger standards to reduce pollution, and establishing a Climate Leaders’ Summit in April. 
  • Prioritizing environmental justice across the government — creating interagency planning, starting the process for meaningful community engagement, and directing 40% of investments into communities most affected by climate change, pollution, and racial injustice. 
  • Protecting 30% of our lands and waters by 2030 and ensuring all communities have access to the natural world.
  • Restoring the role of science in decision making.

Read more at the White House website.