CA taking comment on goal to conserve 30% of coastal waters – critics say overall policy harms younger residents

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CALIFORNIA – The California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) is accepting public comment, until October 2, on the draft 30×30 Decision-Making Framework for Coastal Waters.

The framework is aimed at conserving at least 30% of coastal and marine areas by 2030. The policy is aligned with the Biden administration’s 2021 proposal to conserve 30% of all U.S. lands and waters by 2030.

Using nature to fight climate change

According to OPC, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-82-20, in October 2022, which advanced biodiversity conservation as an administration priority and elevated the role of nature in fighting climate change. 

Part of this Executive Order committed California to conserving 30% of its lands and coastal waters by 2030 – the 30×30 target. 

OPC is leading the implementation of 30×30 in coastal waters. 

The department says that they worked in partnership with the California Ocean Science Trust and the 30×30 Technical Advisory Panel, to develop a draft decision-making framework for evaluating and designating conservation areas in California’s coastal waters. 

“This framework translates policy objectives for 30×30 Conservation Areas – protecting biodiversity, expanding access to nature, and building climate resilience – into objective, transparent, science-based criteria,” says the OPC website.

Manufactured conservation crisis

According to the Breakthrough Institute, the 30×30 policy disproportionately harms younger, largely non-white residents the most.

“In that state, land and water are already heavily conserved; 50% of the state’s open land is permanently preserved in public ownership, 2% is covered by conservation easements, and 53% of state territorial waters are in marine protected areas,” said Breakthrough Institute fellow Jennifer Hernandez.

Hernandez goes on to say that the manufactured conservation crisis has provided activists with another basis to oppose new housing, manufacturing, other non-keyboard job growth, or transportation improvements.

Upcoming workshops

OPC is hosting three workshops in San Diego, Monterrey and Arcata to discuss the draft framework. 

The department says comments can be submitted via the 30×30 Draft Decision-Making Framework-Public Comment Submission Form

Comments can also be submitted to [email protected]. They request all comments and feedback be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 2, 2024. 

Staff anticipates bringing a final framework, with potential preliminary determinations for candidate 30×30 Conservation Areas, to the council for consideration and possible adoption at the December 9, 2024 council meeting.  

For more information about the 30×30 draft framework and upcoming workshops visit https://opc.ca.gov/2024/06/30×30-draft-decision-making-framework-for-coastal-waters-public-comment-period-and-regional-workshops/

RELATED: Water Board discuss a $1000 daily fine on water suppliers who don’t reduce water for residents by 9%

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