VIDEO: Haaland Looks to Sustainable Job Creation in Restoration Economy to Bounce Back from Pandemic, Includes Restoration Funding in Appropriations

July 11, 2020
Press Release

Albuquerque, N.M. – This week, Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01), Chair of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, chaired a forum focused on sustainable job creation to bounce back from the pandemic. Haaland, who is vice chair of the full House Natural Resources Committee, led a discussion on policies to create new conservation-oriented jobs around the country. During the hearing, Haaland focused on the job training potential for young people in rural communities in New Mexico and across the country. The most recent estimates show that there is $123 million in total deferred maintenance at the 15 National Park Service sites in New Mexico.  


In addition to private sector initiatives, restoration-oriented measures will likely include additional support for existing programs and partnerships like local and regional corps networks and federal restoration grants, as well as full funding for and an expansion of public programs like the Indian Youth Service Corps, which was authorized in the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act of 2019 but has yet to be formally organized by the administration. Haaland requested funding for this program in the Fiscal Year 2021 Interior and Environment Appropriations Act, and the bill that passed the House Appropriations Committee Friday afternoon includes $500,000 to start the program.


“Restoration work can employ Americans from all walks of life, from young people looking for their first job on a trail crew to seasoned scientists tracking the health of our ecosystems. We’re here today to talk about how the Federal Government can efficiently and effectively invest in our economy and our environment by putting people back to work restoring and protecting natural areas,” said Haaland during her opening remarks at the forum. 


WATCH: Congresswoman Deb Haaland’s Opening Remarks on Job Creation in the Restoration Economy to Bounce Back from the Pandemic


WATCH: Congresswoman Deb Haaland’s Q&A During Forum Focused on Restoration Economy Jobs


Programs like the Collaborative Forest Restoration Program (CFRP) in New Mexico support restoration projects that reduce the threat of wildlife and improve forest ecosystem functioning on public lands, while also supporting local businesses. Over 20 years, funding for over 200 CFRP projects has restored over 35,000 acres and created over 750 jobs in New Mexico.


The “restoration economy” would be similar to the now-booming outdoor recreation economy, which until the coronavirus shutdowns added close to $900 billion to the U.S. economy annually and created more than 7 million jobs. Restoration jobs can fall into several categories and include activities like replanting native species, restoring riparian areas and wetlands, reclaiming abandoned mine lands, removing outdated dams, and remediating polluted lands and waters for sustainable use.