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Biden’s expansion of 2 national monuments in California protects ecology, honors indigenous land. (Op-Ed)

On Thursday, President Joe Biden will formally sign a proclamation expanding two national monuments in California and protecting nearly 120,000 acres of land, according to the White House. The proclamation will add 105,919 acres of land to the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and 13,696 acres to the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. San Gabriel is a mountainous wilderness area east of Los Angeles, while Berryessa is a vast area of canyons, rolling hills, and native wildflowers north of Napa. This is a giant leap forward in protecting the ecology of the region, ensuring plant and animal species survival, and promoting tourism to America’s gorgeous natural landscapes.

“These expansions will increase access to nature, boost our outdoor economy, and honor areas of significance to Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples as we continue to safeguard our public lands for all Americans and for generations to come,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in a written statement. As a senator, Harris was part of the effort to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Judy Chu (D-CA), a longtime advocate of expanding the monuments, said expanding San Gabriel would protect the source of drinking water for one-third of Los Angeles County and provide “access to nature for low-income and underserved communities.”

Protecting the national wonders that America has to offer is necessary, as it prevents the extinction of flora and fauna. These protections forbid any deforestation or logging to take place, ensuring the national parks remain healthy and untouched by negative human influence. In an age where land is often destroyed in fracking, it is wonderful that President Biden is protecting the land on a federal level, forever ensuring that these natural beauties are untouched and allowed to thrive.

During the first three years of his term, Biden has conserved more than 24 million acres of public lands, most recently designating a new national monument near the Grand Canyon: the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni National Monument. Biden has also designated new monuments in Nevada and Colorado, and restored protections for national monuments in Utah that were restricted by former President Donald Trump. Conservation is imperative for the health of America’s rich, diverse ecology.

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