What does the federal government’s 30X30 plan actually do? Today I would like to clarify what the 30X30 plan actually does and tell you why it is a very bad idea.

On Jan. 27, President Biden signed Executive Order #14008 entitled, “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad”.  In Section 216 of that Executive Order, President Biden directed the Secretary of the Interior along with the Secretary of Agriculture, and other senior officials, to develop a plan to conserve at least 30% of the lands and waterways in the United States by the year 2030.

There is no constitutional or statutory authority for the President of the United States, the Department of the Interior, or the Department of Agriculture to set aside and preserve 30% of lands and waterways for the purpose of conservation. Moreover, no such authority is ever mentioned in the Executive Order.

Section 216(a) of the Executive Order directs certain federal agencies to “submit a report to the Task Force within 90 days (April 27),” recommending steps the federal government should take to work with state, local, and tribal authorities and others “to achieve the goal of conserving at least 30% of our lands and waterways by 2030.”  Private landowners will be most affected in Nebraska because 97% of all property in Nebraska is privately owned. 

So, how will the federal government acquire or control 30% of our land? There are only two viable options — perpetual conservation easements or outright purchases of large tracts of land from private owners.

Now, this it is not a conspiracy to point out when federal agencies want to take or acquire land or when the USDA or other agencies move in and pay landowners exorbitant amounts for perpetual easements. The result will drastically reduce the tax revenues for that county and any other taxing entity. Ultimately, it will increase the tax burden for the residents and all property owners in that county. 

Private landowners have proven to be better conservationists than the federal government. Today, 12% of all land in the USA is under federal control. The 30X30 plan would result in a large “land grab” of 680 million acres across the country under the guise of conservation. The 30X30 plan would put at risk 1.16 million more acres of land in Nebraska along with the 580,000 acres the feds already own or control.

Perhaps there are some in Nebraska who don’t mind paying more in property taxes. I, for one, am not one of those people. I stand against raising property taxes, especially when the cause is an unnecessary, unscientific, Left-wing extremist conservation program of the federal government.

By Jeff Metz, Morrill County Commissioner