Last month, as we reported, President Joe Biden in an executive order gave several federal departments, including the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, 90 days to come up with a plan for the formation of a Civilian Climate Corps—an echo of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) of the 1930s, which is widely viewed as the most popular of the New Deal’s programs. In the midst of the Great Depression, the CCC put 3 million young men to work between 1933 and 1942. Reestablishment of a new CCC has been proposed for years, including during the Great Recession.
On Friday, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Rep. Joe Neguse of Colorado resurrected 2020 legislation that would establish a “21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps Act” with $38.8 billion in funding with $9 billion of it going to hire and train men and women for outdoor jobs constructing trails, controlling invasive species, restoring wetlands, building parks, and, like its predecessor decades ago, planting trees.
Susan Jane M. Brown, staff attorney at the Western Environmental Law Center, said: “Reinvesting in America’s public lands is a win for all of us who work and play on these lands. This legislation will provide important support for critical programs that are essential to stewardship of our national forests, parks, and other public lands.”