This nomination comes at a critical time in our country. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are facing record economic and racial inequality, as well as the impacts of climate change. Our public lands have an essential role to play in meeting climate goals, with their potential for carbon sequestration, job creation, and responsible energy development. Despite the role that public lands play in our nation’s economic and environmental well-being, our parks and recreation facilities most recently received a “D+” grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Getting our parks and recreation facilities to a “B” grade over the next 10 years could support or create an estimated 632,000 job-years across the U.S. economy. Policies that make strategic investments in public lands—such as in natural infrastructure, clean energy, and reclamation—will bring immediate and long-term benefits to workers and communities. Immediate economic recovery policies are now even more desperately needed as a result of COVID-19.
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