Comment on January 27, 2021 Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis and Development of Guidelines for Protected Areas

The undersigned organizations and individuals are submitting these comments regarding the Protection of 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030 in accordance with the January 27, 2021 Executive Order. These comments are science-based and provide on the ground examples of current Forest Service management that is causing loss of carbon sequestration and destruction of soils, streams, wildlife habitats, wildlife corridors, and biodiversity. These outcomes are in opposition to the desired outcomes of the Executive Order and require major changes in current Forest Service and other public lands management if the stated goals are to be achieved.

Other public lands such as National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, National Monuments, and Bureau of Land Management managed lands also do not meet sufficient criteria to be deemed "protected" as they are subject to many of the same damaging practices delineated in our comments about the National Forests. These practices include, but are not limited to logging, thinning, prescribed fire, sagebrush and juniper removal, excessive road density and off-road vehicle use, livestock grazing and other extractive uses. These are causing loss in carbon storage, increasing carbon emissions and exacerbating climate change. We note that Federal managed public lands account for about 30% of the land base and are uniquely suited for the changes needed to achieve the climate, biodiversity, and other goals of the Executive Order.

We understand that on behalf of the Climate Task Force, the Department of Interior is tasked with producing guidelines for determining the lands and waters to be deemed as "conserved" or "protected" for the purpose of achieving the goals of 30% protection by 2030. We are requesting you provide us with your analysis of and response to these comments as they relate to Department of Interior input to the Task Force in developing the guidelines for Protection.

See letters attached.

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