Biden Expands National Monuments in CA to Strengthen His Conservation Record Ahead of Election

By: Stephanie Bontorin | Published: Apr 12, 2024

Joe Biden has just made a sweeping promise in the last few months of the 2024 presidential election campaign.

In an attempt to clinch support from California voters, the Democratic nominee has promised to increase conservation efforts by expanding two established National Monuments. 

Aims To Bolster Conservation Records

In an attempt to raise his conservation record as president, Biden has pledged to increase the size of two National Monuments in California in coming weeks.

A view of a large mountain range underneath a blue sky. Multiple evergreen trees stand in the view

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Both the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument will be increased in size under the new measures.


Expanded Proclamations Initiated by Obama

Earth Day is set to take place on April 22nd of this year. Reports from the Biden team say that he expects to introduce the new proclamation during festivities celebrating conservation efforts and climate protections. 

Two men walk across a grassy field while wearing suits

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The proclamation being signed was originally set up by former President Barack Obama who Biden served as Vice President to for eight years.

Promise to Maintain Previous Presidential Orders

The current president is expected to keep Obama’s vision of a green America alive and well. The current Democratic pledge to conserve and expand the current National Parks system has been kept up dutifully throughout Biden’s administration. 

Two volunteers dressed in hiking clothes using tools to pick up trash in the middle of a dry, grassy field

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The liberal party has long run on a platform to address causes of climate change, expand National Parks and conserve the natural world for the next generation.

Biden Is Trying To Outdo Previous Presidents

Biden isn’t just in a competition with himself to increase conservation efforts in the U.S., he wants to outdo Obama and Clinton’s already stellar track records.

John D. Podesta, Bill Clinton, and John DeGioia stand together on a balcony wearing black suits. Three more men stand behind them also wearing formal attire

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A senior advisor to the president for international climate policy, John D. Podesta, made loose promises during a climate summit on Thursday to increase expansions in the nation’s parks. After working for both Clinton and Obama, he’s confident that Biden can set a record.

Native American Tribes in Support of the Expansion

Along with California lawmakers, Judy Chu and Alex Padilla, Native American tribes in the region have also called on Biden to increase the size of the parks.

Senator Alex Padilla walks with an officer in Arlington Cemetery with a group of people following them

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They directly called on the measure to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in east Los Angeles.


Biden Uses 100-Year-Old Act To Bypass Capitol Hill

When introduced to congress, the measure was stalled and blocked by Republicans during their staunch efforts to stall Biden’s campaign promises.

Joe Biden wearing a pair of aviator sunglasses, a blue suit with a blue tie, signing a bill at the desk marked for the President of the United States

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However, Biden plans to use his executive authority as prescribed under the 1906 Antiquities Act in order to have the bill passed without the help of congressional representatives.


Legislation Will Massively Increase the Size of Monuments

The bill, first introduced by Chu and Padilla, hopes to increase the size of the San Gabriel Mountains by a third.

A view of a large city with a mountain range in the background. Palm trees are seen in the foreground

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When passed, the measure will increase the size of the Los Angeles Forest to almost half a million acres of protected land.


Increased Access to Low Budget Families

The California senators hope to allow more low budget Latino families gain access to natural resources in their area.

A large mountain range with a small tree in the foreground

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Sen. Padilla stated that underserved communities deserve access to national parks just as much as anyone else in the country. The measure has also created a commitment to protect the drinking water that feeds most of Los Angeles county.


National Parks Are Still a Big Business

Despite the small money making abilities of national parks, they still bring in millions of visitors and billions of dollars of total income. 

A national park ranger truck drives away from the camera on a road cutting through a green field. Dry fields of grass are seen in the background

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The National Parks Service estimates that in 2020, more than $28.6 billion was added to the U.S. economy thanks to visitors of national parks. They also help create more than 234,000 jobs in hospitality, recreation, and transportation.


Expansions in the Berryessa Mountains

The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and other nearby First Nations tribes have long been a part of conservation efforts in the area. Recently, thanks to Senator Chu, they gained Biden’s attention.

A large condor has its wings outstretched mid flight above a large mountain range

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They asked the president to expand the boundaries of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument by 4,000 acres. As well, they have asked that the name “Walker Ridge”, a popular hiking trail, be changed to “Molok Luyuk”. The new name means “Condor Ridge” in their ancestral language; it pays homage to the area’s once healthy population of condors.


New Commitments for The Democratic President

The new promises laid out by Biden seem to strengthen his hold on certain environmental and First Nations groups in California.

A group of hikers wearing backpacks and using hiking poles walks along a small trail in between a small valley

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He has set a tenacious goal of conserving 30 percent of the land and water in the U.S. by 2030. A proposition that he can only keep if re-elected in office this November.