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Liberty Matters News Service, Issue 5

Mar 17, 2021 | 30x30, Liberty Matters | 0 comments

Nebraska Landowners Prepare to Fight the 30 x 30 Program | Inside the Haaland Interior Department | Shrinking Majority in the House | The Next Four Years

Nebraska Landowners Prepare to Fight the 30 x 30 Program

Over 300 people traveled to Valentine, Nebraska last Tuesday to learn about the 30 x 30 program, including Commissioners from nine Counties. The event was organized by Cherry County Commissioner, Tanya Storer, who wanted her community to learn about the program and how it could impact Nebraska landowners. 

Trent Loos, the events MC, was live streaming the program on Facebook, when approximately five minutes in, the feed dropped. He later had a notice from the social media company that the content violated their terms of usage. You can check out his report at loostails.blogspot.com.  

NBC’s Nebraska station, KNOP News 2, filmed the event, interviewed landowners and aired two stories, one that focused on Nebraska Governor Pete Rickett’s opposition to 30 x 30, and one covering the event. Also, Spike Jordan wrote a great piece that connects all the dots, published in The Fence Post.

To learn more about how to educate your community on President Biden’s 30 x 30 program, the new policy he announced on January 27th seeking to permanently protect 30 percent of America’s land and oceans by 2030, download the Guide to Fight 30 x 30 and help pass the local resolution opposing the program. If you are interested in hosting a similar event in your community, contact us at asl@americanstewards.us

Garfield County Requests Meeting with DOI and USDA

Following up on the passage of their resolution opposing 30 x 30, Garfield County, Colorado has sent a letter to the Department of Interior (DOI) and US Department of Agriculture requesting a meeting on the program.  Executive Order 14008, which announced the proposed policy, included the directive for the Department to work with States, local governments, and stakeholders, however, there has been no outreach to the County for input. Instead, DOI rescinded Secretarial Order 3388 on February 11th, which required the consent of States and local governments for federal land acquisitions under the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The Garfield County letter includes a list of questions the County insists must be addressed, illustrating how complex and costly the program will become, if authorized. It also illustrates how few details have been released to Counties and the public about the administration’s proposed program. 

Citing section 216(i) of the Executive Order, the County requests the meeting to occur prior to completion of the implementation report to be sent to the National Climate Task Force:

“216(1)The Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, through the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality shall, as appropriate, solicit input from State, local, Tribal, and territorial officials, agricultural and forest landowners, fishermen, and other key stakeholders in identifying strategies that will encourage broad participation in the goal of conserving 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.”

 It is expected that DOI will provide the implementation plan to the Task Force sometime in mid-April. Absent any effort by the agencies to reach out to the County as required, Garfield County is giving the administration an opportunity to work with local governments as the Order and press reports indicate is their intent.

Inside the Haaland Interior Department

Unlike prior administrations, the Biden team did not wait until confirmation of the new Secretary of Interior, Deb Haaland, to fill key policy positions at the Department of Interior.  After a Senate confirmation vote of 51-40, yesterday, March 15, 2021, the new Secretary beings her tenure at the top spot with the top policy rolls already staffed.

The new slate of agency and policy personnel were placed as early as January 20th, and they include activists from the environmental groups of National Wildlife Federation, World Wildlife Fund, Center for American Progress, Earthjustice, Friends of the Earth, Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society, the Wilderness Society — entities committed to reducing or eliminating the use of lands by natural resource industries. Additionally, many key positions were filled with activists from the Elizabeth Warren campaign where the Green New Deal was championed.

Missing from the new appointments are experts in the natural resource industries. Although not surprising, it does raise concern whether the multiple-use and sustained yield principles mandated by federal law will be carried out by the Department. Secretary Haaland has a long history of fighting the oil and gas industry while advocating for the Green New Deal and 30 x 30.  She co-sponsored the House Resolution supporting 30 x 30 in the last Congress.

Senators Barrasso (R-WY), Daines (R-MT) and others pressed Haaland on her past history opposing the very programs she would be required to implement and were unsatisfied with the former Congressman’s failure to specifically address these concerns. They provided the former Congressman with a lengthy list of questions, during her hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

In response to her understanding of the 30 x 30 program she stated: “I believe the President’s 30×30 conservation initiative is intended to be a locally-engaged, science-based approach that is respectful of private land landowners, Tribal Nations and existing user groups like hunters, anglers, farmers and ranchers.” She further stated, “It is also not about locking up land, but is intended to be a national goal that can be met with cooperative efforts from many levels of government and voluntary private action.”

The new Secretary’s words do not match her past advocacy actions nor that of her key policy staff.  Importantly, they also fail to match the early action of the Department when it rescinded the policy requiring consent from States and local governments for federal land acquisitions under the Land and Water Conservation Fund, among other critical policies that kept in check the extreme environmental position. Instead of having a seat at the table, landowners and natural resource industries may find they are the main course.

Following yesterday’s Senate vote installing Haaland as the new Secretary of Interior, she tweeted her thanks to the Senators promising to work with the legislative body as she reiterated throughout her hearings:  “As Secretary of @Interior, I look forward to collaborating with all [of] you. I am ready to serve. #BeFierce,” she stated.

A good place to start would be coordinating with Garfield County, Colorado on 30 x 30 as requested.

Shrinking Majority in the House

One good bit of news for conservatives is the majority in the U.S. House continues to shrink as the Biden Administration has now pulled three Representatives to fill executive branch positions. The U.S. House Member data shows Republicans hold 211 seats, while Democrats have 219 with the new Secretary’s resignation. From these, there are five seats unfilled. Two are Republican and three from the Democrat column. The seats will be filled through special elections, not appointment, which takes time and creates opportunities for the minority party.  The two Republican special elections are underway, as these two seats opened up when Members Luke Letlow (R-LA) and Ron Wright (R-TX) both passed away prior to the start of the new session.

The Next Four Years

Two months into the Biden Administration Americans have seen the beginning of the progressive, far-left agenda intended on changing our nation from one governed by the principles of individual freedom and liberty to one where the administrative state and elites dictate how we shall live. The progressives label every issue as a looming crisis that require dramatic policy changes to avoid irreversible demise of planet Earth.

Sadly, this is not the description of a new science fiction thriller. Instead, it is a reality check on the Biden Administration.

For landowners, there are three key reports that provide the roadmap we can expect to be pursued by the radical environmental community now in charge of America’s regulatory agencies.  The first is the Center for American Progress report (CAP Report) entitled “How Much Nature Should America Keep?,” where the 30 x 30 agenda is spelled out.  The second comes from the Defenders of Wildlife entitled “Wildlife Conservation Agenda for the Next Administration: 2021-2025.” The third report is also from Defenders entitled “Getting to 30×30: Guidelines for Decision-makers.”

Defender’s is expected to have a major seat at the table with the new administration, so their publications are worth taking note of.  Their opening paragraph in the Conservation Agenda report sets the tone:

Life on Earth is at increasing and significant risk— because of us. Development, habitat loss, exploitation, pollution and invasive species now threaten as many as 1 million species with extinction. These threats are exacerbated by the daunting reality of climate change, which is increasingly impacting our planet. In the last four years, the Trump administration repudiated or ignored these looming crises, working instead to recklessly and unapologetically place the power of the federal government at the disposal of those who seek to exploit and degrade our land, water, air and wildlife. The failure to act decisively to counter biodiversity loss and climate change has given these crises unchecked momentum. In combination, they present the greatest threat to our planets health in the history of humankind, threatening to unravel the rich, intricate tapestry of life on our planet.”

Defender’s priorities include: (1) establishing the path for 30 x 30 within 18 months, which is the foundation for achieving the long term goal of permanently protecting 50 percent of the nation by 2050; (2) expanding the ESA, (3) changing the focus of federal land management laws to prioritize conservation over multiple use and sustained yield; and (4) fully funding private land conservation including those that support conservation easements in perpetuity.

Defender’s 30 x 30 Guidelines include potential target areas for the administration.  Using the USGS Gap Analysis data, they identify which States fall below the 30% threshold of conserved areas and which areas are high target areas for species conservation.  They convey these targets through maps and graphs, making it easy to see where this group’s is headed.

The publications note the need to work with States, local governments, and landowners to achieve their goals of conserving habitat, biodiversity, and connectivity for species.  However, the policy changes they promote work to restrict landowners while increasing Federal oversight and control. 

The CAP Report concludes its blueprint by listing eight key principles to reverse the erosion of species and biodiversity they claim is occurring worldwide.  Number eight makes clear 30 x 30 is just the first bite of the apple:

8. Protecting 30 percent of lands and waters is not the last 30 percent.  Approximately 60 percent of U.S. lands in the lower 48 states are in a natural condition. Therefore, even if the United States succeeds in protecting 30 percent of its lands and waters by 2030, there will still be ample room for the countrys development footprint to grow and for additional conservation gains beyond 2030. In fact, if the United States achieves 30X30, the country will be well positioned to pursue a longer-term goal of conserving half of all its lands and waters.”