Since taking office, President Obama has taken unprecedented action to invest in our natural resources and work with American business leaders who understand that taking action to increase environmental protections is good for the future of our planet and their bottom line.
This week, the President took another significant step to encourage American businesses to invest in conservation, signing a Presidential Memorandum to accelerate restoration efforts and incentivize private investment in our land, water and wildlife.
In addition, the Department of the Interior (DOI) is releasing a compatible new policy today that further specifies how the Department will avoid impacts and encourage offsetting natural resource restoration and protection on America’s public lands and waters.
Today’s Presidential Memorandum is a great step forward for conservation, building on a three-decade bi-partisan history of Presidential leadership that has encouraged innovation in land and water protection efforts, strengthening protection for land and water in three major ways:
- Re-emphasizes that agencies should seek to avoid any negative environmental impacts first, then minimize impacts, and finally, only seek compensatory offsets for harm that still occurs if necessary.
- Within the limits of existing law, encourages agencies to set ‘no net loss’ and ‘net benefit’ goals that apply to more natural resources.
- Directs agencies to make full use of local, state and federal plans to identify the best places for development and most important areas to protect, paying special attention to ‘irreplaceable’ resources that may be too special to lose.
These conservation commitments are paired with additional principles described in the Memorandum that create a clearer playing field to accelerate impact investing in natural resource restoration:
- Calls for compatible policies across Federal agencies so market opportunity for one type of restoration credit is not stymied by the rules for another.
- Increases the likelihood that our environment will be better protected and managed, by establishing a preference to advance restoration.
- Calls for measurable and transparent performance so that investors, government and the public share a common understanding about how best to offset development impacts.
The Presidential Memorandum creates the predictability and incentives needed to encourage private investment and strong protections for the environment that will lead to bigger markets and more conservation success. This investment will expand the estimated 125,000 jobs and $9.5 billion in direct economic activity already engaged in restoration of natural resources in the U.S.
Press release posted November 3, 2015