President Joe Biden is pushing forward on an executive order calling for 30 percent of U.S. land be “conserved” — up from the 13 percent that are national parks and other federal holdings — including private property. And while environmentalists want even more restrictions, Republicans and Americans whose livelihood depends on land are strongly opposed to what they see as a land grab by the federal government.
“This ‘30×30’ goal has received a great deal of attention in farming and ranching communities across the country,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall wrote in April. “America’s agriculturalists are asking whether their good work will be recognized by the administration. They have voluntarily enrolled more than 140 million acres of private land into federal and non-federal conservation programs — a land mass larger than the size of New York and California combined.
“Any discussion about conservation must begin with the recognition that farmers and ranchers are leaders in this space and have been for decades,” Duvall wrote.
“More than 800 million acres of land are also being conserved under state and federal ownership,” AG Daily reported. “Multiple-use federal lands, as well as actively managed and working lands, should be recognized for their conservation and open space benefits.”
“The concerns of farmers and ranchers are escalating regarding the intent of the 30×30 goal, the definition of conservation, and the metrics for defining success, among other things,” Duvall wrote. “We urge you to move swiftly to provide clarity about your intentions for the initiative, and when you do so, it will be important for you to invite public comment because farmers and ranchers are leaders in conservation and deserve to have their voices heard.”
But if not moving swiftly the Biden Administration is again focusing on the order.
Taxpayer-funded National Public Radio (NPR) reported on what it described as Biden’s effort “to slow the collapse of nature.”
NPR interviewed Tom Goldtooth with the Indigenous Environmental Network.
“It’s another scam to give the impression that these lands are going to be protected, set aside, restoring nature,” Goldtooth said. “But these lands are a greenwash for polluting industry.”
“By allowing activities like logging or grazing or mining to still occur in limited fashion, Goldtooth says, nature is not being adequately protected, not when the world’s top scientists are warning that the clean air, water and ecosystems that we all depend on are at imminent risk,” NPR reported.
NPR reported “in a perfect world … there would be the ability to permanently preserve big chunks of land in the U.S.”
But Republican Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts spoke out against the plan when Biden put it in an executive order.
“We do need to watch any sort of federal legislation because the President doesn’t have the constitutional authority to do this. He will have to work through the congress,” Ricketts said in a local television report.
“Ricketts also was rallying support for counties to fight this at the local level,” 3 News reported. “Every county board must approve a conservation easement, which is a contract between a landowner and the feds that would put the land into the ‘conserved’ category. Ricketts said those contracts have strings attached and often are in perpetuity.”
“We want people to be aware of what’s probably going to be happening in your own backyards, so read the fine print and get your counties involved,” Ricketts said.
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