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Assemblymember Ash Kalra Releases Statement in Response to Governor’s Executive Order Announcing California “30 by 30” Conservation Goal

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) released a statement today in response to the Governor’s executive order announcing new actions in the fight against climate change and to protect biodiversity. The Executive Order includes a statewide “30 by 30” conservation goal, an initiative that was first championed by Assemblymember Kalra and environmental advocates through Assembly Bill 3030 (AB 3030):

I am incredibly grateful to Governor Newsom for his leadership on climate action and for championing the biodiversity protection goals highlighted in AB 3030. Now, more than ever, the connection between global health and the health of our environment cannot be clearer, and we must continue to work together to preserve our finite ecological resources. Especially as more and more people seek respite in outdoor spaces during this pandemic, we also need to uplift the voices of nature-deprived marginalized communities and address the racial and economic inequities in these spaces to ensure that all Californians have access to nature.

Through measures like AB 3030 and the Governor’s executive order, we can show the world that California continues to be a global leader in this space and that biodiversity conservation provides benefits for everyone, while correcting previous wrongs in which Black, Indigenous, and people of color—who suffer the worst impacts from environmental injustices—can benefit equitably in our efforts to protect nature.

The implementation of the Governor’s executive order will be critical in ensuring that California’s “30 by 30” goal results in real protection for biodiversity and equitable outdoor access, and I remain committed to working with the Administration, environmental partners, and other stakeholders to conserve natural spaces for future generations.

AB 3030, authored by Assemblymember Kalra, failed to advance to the Senate floor this year but would have declared it to be the goal of the state to protect at least 30 percent of California’s land areas and waters and to help advance the protection of 30 percent of the nation’s oceans by 2030, while improving equitable outdoor access to nature among communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities.

The bill was coauthored by Assemblymembers Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), Eloise Reyes (D-San Bernardino), Robert Rivas (D-Hollister), and Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica). AB 3030 was sponsored by Audubon California, Azul, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Additional statements from AB 3030 sponsors:

“For too long, the consequences of natural resource extraction and pollution in the U.S. have fallen disproportionately on low income communities and communities of color. The pursuit of a 30x30 goal must address this historic inequity and ensure that everyone has access to nature and its benefits. We are excited to see Equity at the heart of this executive order—including equitable access in this manner protects nature with people, not from them.

“California has been a leader in turning the world's attention to the critically important role oceans play in responding to climate change. This executive order continues California’s legacy as a global leader in conservation and innovation. Enhorabuena!”

Marce Gutiérrez-Graudiņš - Founder and Executive Director, Azul

“Thanks to Assemblymember Kalra championing AB 3030 and now this Executive Order, we will be a healthier and more resilient state that all Californians benefit from efforts to protect habitats, wildlife, air and water. As California works towards its 30 by 30 goal and to protect biodiversity, Audubon California is committed to ensuring that these programs benefit communities of color that are more likely to be in nature-deprived areas or in areas that suffer from poor water or air quality and other environmental challenges.”

Juan Altamirano - Associate Director of Policy, Audubon California

“We applaud Governor Newsom for his action today to prioritize biodiversity protection for the benefit of all Californians with the establishment of a state goal to protect 30 percent of California’s lands and waters by 2030. Our nation and world are facing an unprecedented tandem of crises with climate change and the loss of biodiversity. If we are to survive either, we must address both.

“The Governor’s Executive Order builds on the effort started in California this year with the introduction of Assembly Bill 3030 by Assemblymember Kalra and is the first step to ensure that all Californians will have access to a healthy and thriving environment for the future. Defenders looks forward to working with the Newsom Administration on the implementation of this order to ensure that we are providing enduring protections for biodiversity and real improvements to access for disadvantaged communities.”

Pamela Flick - California Program Director, Defenders of Wildlife

“Ensuring that historically disadvantaged communities, including communities of color and tribal communities, have a voice and equitable access to the benefits of thriving ecosystems will be crucial. By tackling the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change together and calling for protection of biodiversity through conservation of 30% of lands and coastal waters by 2030, this executive order is a step towards restoring a healthy, livable planet that will benefit all Californians.”

Drevet Hunt - Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council