House Natural Resources Committee

Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee

Land Management: The National Strategy to Develop Environmental Economic Decisions

1324 Longworth
Thu, 15 Feb 2024 19:00:00 GMT

On Thursday, February 15, 2024, at 2:00 p.m., in room 1324 Longworth House Office Building, the Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold an oversight hearing titled “Bidenomics & Land Management: The Misguided National Strategy to Develop Environmental Economic Decisions.”

Hearing memo

  • Henry Wykowski, Advisor, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior

President Biden has pushed the federal government to develop its framework for environmental-economic accounting, laying the groundwork through executive order (E.O.), guidance from his administration, and requests for information.

On April 22, 2022, President Biden issued E.O. 14072—Strengthening the Nation’s Forests, Communities, and Local Economies—which ordered the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to issue guidance on the valuation of ecosystem and environmental services and natural assets in Federal regulatory decision-making. On July 22, 2022, OMB issued the guidance in a memorandum for the heads of executive Departments and Agencies regarding research and development priorities for the Fiscal Year 2024 budget (OMB Natural Capital Memo). The OMB Natural Capital Memo instructed agencies to promote efforts to account for ecosystem and natural capital services. The OMB Natural Capital Memo also instructed agencies to “identify and prioritize R&D investments that advance… the ability to evaluate and track the effects of policies, projects, and programs on climate mitigation, resilience, and ecosystem services.”

A month later, on August 22, 2022, OMB continued to execute its marching orders by issuing a request for information to help inform the development of “Government-wide natural capital accounts and standardized environmental-economic statistics” (OMB RFI). The OMB RFI stated that international interest in “developing natural capital accounting methodologies” has led to “demand for U.S. Federal leadership to develop natural capital accounts and standardized environmental-economic statistics to provide a centralized domestic framework and to promote international norms.”

A month later, on October 31, 2022, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued its own request for information—on behalf of the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)—to help “inform the framing, development, and eventual use of the first National Nature Assessment” (USGCRP RFI). The USGCRP RFI stated that the National Nature Assessment “will assess the status, observed trends, and future projections of America’s lands, waters, wildlife, biodiversity and ecosystems and the benefits they provide, including connections to the economy, public health, equity, climate mitigation and adaptation, and national security.” In doing so, the USGCRP RFI declared the U.S. currently “lacks comprehensive knowledge on these major aspects of global change.

On January 19, 2023, the Biden administration released a national strategy for Natural Capital Accounting and ESV, the National Strategy to Develop Statistics for Environmental-Economic Decisions: A U.S. System of Natural Capital Accounting and Environmental Economic Statistics (National Strategy for Natural Capital Accounting).