What Has Obama Done for the Wild?

More than any other president.

President Barack Obama looks out over rocky clearing with snowy and grassy mountains behind him

President Obama touring Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska


Pete Souza/The White House

Here’s my top 10 conservation actions in reverse chronological order:

1. He issued a presidential memorandum mandating action to promote diversity and inclusion in our national parks, national forests, and other public lands and waters. (January 12, 2017)

2. He listed the rusty patched bumblebee as endangered. A common sight just 20 years ago, the bumblebee, along with other pollinators like the monarch butterfly, is precariously on the brink of extinction. Listing the bee will focus resources right now on stopping the bee’s decline. (January 10, 2017)

3. He protected more land and waters than any other president. Using his authority under the Antiquities Act, Obama created 29 new national monuments and expanded 5 more during his eight years in office. By creating a tribal commission to help manage the new Bears Ears National Monument in Utah (December 28, 2016), Obama elevated indigenous voices to a level never seen before. From the park where the modern gay rights movement was born (June 24, 2016) to the South Carolina church where freed slaves worked to establish communities after the Civil War (January 12, 2017), President Obama’s monuments add depth and diversity to the American story our public lands tell.

4. He withdrew more than 125 million acres of marine waters in the Arctic and the Atlantic from future oil and gas leasing. (December 20, 2016)

5. He placed a moratorium on new federal coal leasing. (January 15, 2016)

Thank You, President Obama

From permanently banning new drilling from the Arctic to designating 28 national monuments to signing onto the historic Paris climate agreement, our 44th president has fought hard to protect our planet for future generations. Thank you, President Obama, for leading the way—we will continue this fight and keep up this progress.

Posted by NRDC on Friday, January 13, 2017

6. He put a comprehensive plan in place to conserve the sagebrush landscape that defines the American West. (September 22, 2015)

7. He withdrew Alaska’s Bristol Bay from future oil and gas leasing. The action safeguards waters that provide 40 percent of America’s wild-caught seafood and support an annual $2 billion fishing industry. (December 16, 2014) 

8. He created the largest ecologically protected area on the planet by adding more than 400,000 square miles to the Papahānaumokuākea National Marine Monument, which was established a decade ago by George W. Bush (September 24, 2014). More recently, Obama also created the first marine monument in the Atlantic, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts (September 15, 2016).

9. He banned the commercial trade of ivory in the United States. During a recent three-year period, an estimated 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory, an average of approximately one every 15 minutes. Obama's action will help stop the slaughter. (February 11, 2014)

10. He revolutionized renewable energy development, steering it to the places on our public land that provide the most energy with the least environmental damage. (October 12, 2012)

President Obama did not do this alone. He had the support of dedicated public servants throughout his administration. They acted for tomorrow, not just today.

May our next President, Donald Trump, invest as wisely.

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