Report on Biden 30×30 plan: U.S. already “conserving” 37% of land

Report on Biden 30×30 plan: U.S. already “conserving” 37% of land
July 12th, 2022 | Bryce Doeschot

A new report that analyzes President Joe Biden’s 30 by 30 conservation plan shows that the United States may already be meeting the land goal. 

Dave Aiken, University of Nebraska – Lincoln Extension Water and Agricultural Law Specialist, dug deep into the numbers of the controversial plan, known as the “America the Beautiful” Initiative. 

Background

Soon after taking office, President Joe Biden issued an executive order to “tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad.”

In it, he established a goal to conserve at least 30 percent of U.S. lands and 30 percent of U.S. Ocean areas by 2030, also known as 30×30. 

On May 6, an interagency report to the president provided some detail for implementing the 30×30 plan. 

The report pledges to honor private property rights and to honor existing voluntary stewardship efforts of private landowners as well as building on existing land and water conservation programs.

Calculating the Numbers

Aiken said he had to convert the numbers into acres to truly understand the amount of land the Biden administration seeks to conserve. 

Total U.S. Land Use: 2.27 billion X 30% = 681 million acres

A U.S. report says 715 million acres of protected land is held by state, federal and local agencies. 

Conservation easements add 56-65 million more acres. 

Plus, tribal trust lands account for 56 million acres. 

Total: 800+ million acres or 37% 

“If I was in charge of this, I’d declare a victory and move on,” Aiken said. “But, it is not up to me.” 

Controversial 

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has become a leader in the opposition to the “America the Beautiful Initiative.”

According to The Nebraska Examiner, he has warned that the Biden administration was planning to use regulations, including increased rules in Conservation Reserve Program contracts, and conservation easements to exert greater control over private lands.

“We don’t need the federal government to tell us what to do. They don’t need to lecture us,” the governor recently said at a “Stop 30-by-30 Summit” in Lincoln.

Next Steps

UNL’s Dave Aiken doesn’t think the 30 x 30 plan is going to go very far. He says the President’s climate program is in trouble. 

Funding for Biden’s climate initiatives has been held up in the Senate and the Supreme Court recently cracked down on the EPA for overstepping its regulatory authority. 

“I really don’t think we’re going to hear a lot about 30 by 30 going forward.”

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