Details, Conversations Needed on Biden’s 30 x 30 Plan

The 30×30 stemmed from President Biden’s executive order on Jan. 27 on climate change. About two-thirds of the way through the 7,500-word executive order, Biden’s plan stated that the Interior secretary, working with the USDA secretary and Commerce secretary, along with the chair at the Council on Environmental Quality, submit a report within 90 days to a larger task force on how they would take steps “working with State, local, Tribal, and territorial governments, agricultural and forest landowners, fishermen, and other key stakeholders, to achieve the goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.”

We are about 70 days past Biden’s executive order, so in theory this report on the 30 x 30 is expected sometime before the end of April.

Beyond Biden’s order, though, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and other western Democrats had pushed for the 30% land conservation goal before the president was elected. They made a push through the Center for Western Priorities last fall to highlight a strategy to achieve 30% land and water conservation.

Since the executive order, western governors and lawmakers have described the concept as federal overreach and questioned the need for the 30×30 plan, or asked what it means. The questions keep growing as does rural western opposition.

A group called American Stewards for Liberty is organizing events in rural areas on the “30 X 30 Land Grab.” A write-up in the Tri-State Livestock News pointed to a meeting late last month in Valentine, Neb., that packed the high-school auditorium. Groups are seeking to reignite the “Sagebrush Rebellion” days of the late 1970s when federal land policy in the West clashed with landowners and state legislators.

Nebraska Farm Bureau, in its letter to Biden, noted concerns about the 30 x 30 executive order are rising among its members. The letter also noted that a high percentage of Nebraska land (more than 97%) is privately owned. “Organizations have held public meetings in our state outlining possible worst-case scenarios under the EO where it is used to expand the federal government’s control over private property.”

McHargue’s letter concluded, “Mr. President, real conservation efforts only work when those who will be impacted by these types of proposals are allowed a seat at the table. NEFB has a long and distinct history of supporting private property rights and opposing efforts to expand the federal government’s reach over our nation’s farms and ranches. If 30 x 30 looks to place additional limits on what farm and ranch families, those who have dedicated their lives to protecting soil and water, can do with their property, we stand ready to stop it. I would invite you or anyone within your administration to come to Nebraska to hear directly from farm and ranch families and see what is already being done to conserve and protect our air, land, and water.”

Executive Order on Climate…

Chris Clayton can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

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