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Senator Pete Ricketts Demands Biden Administration Define Conservation

by | May 18, 2023 | 30x30 | 0 comments

Since President Biden signed Executive Order 14008, on January 27, 2021, where he initiated 30×30, the administration has been asked to define one word, which they have refused to do.

The 30×30 initiative directs that at least 30 percent of the nation’s lands and waters need to be conserved by 2030. However, they refuse to define what is meant by “conserve.”

Senator Pete Ricketts, former Governor of Nebraska, gave the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service one more chance in a May 16th hearing before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The Committee was discussing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2024 proposed budget.

Senator Ricketts grilled Martha Williams from the FWS to obtain a clear definition of what the Administration is working towards.

“In reading through the Fish and Wildlife proposed budget, the president’s 30×30 environmental program is specifically mentioned there,” said Senator Ricketts. “The executive summary says the Service is a ‘key player’ in the administration’s goal for an ambitious ‘America the Beautiful’ initiative… Don’t you have to have a definition of conservation to be able to say 30% of the United States is conserved? Don’t you have to have a definition of that before you can even reach that goal?”

The Director could not answer the Senator’s question and instead pivoted by enumerating the principles behind the 30×30 goal, exposing once again that the Administration is failing to be open with the American people. Additionally, the Director could not answer how much of their budget request is for the implementation of 30×30.

The Senator commented on the Administration’s refusal to be transparent following the hearing.

“More than two years ago, I led a coalition of 15 Governors in asking President Biden for more details about how this initiative could be achieved without a federal land grab. For two years, they’ve refused to give us anything. No definitions, no details, nothing. Reaching 30% would require restricting a land area the size of nine states of Nebraska by 2030. Without a clear definition of conservation, this plan is either a partisan sham with no tangible goals or a slippery slope to violating the property rights of Nebraskans.”

Senator Ricketts has been a longtime opponent of President Biden’s America the Beautiful initiative. As Governor, Ricketts hosted the “Stop the 30×30 Summit” and a series of townhalls across Nebraska to raise the alarm about the prospect of a federal land grab in pursuit of Biden’s conservation goals. In June of 2021, he signed an executive order aimed at stopping its implementation of the plan.

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