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Washington Examiner: Enviromentalists' Latest Land-Grab Scheme: The '30 x 30' Initiative

May 11, 2021

The swamp is dominated by overpaid former Hill and agency staffers sipping wine, lobbying for more money to support their new “foundation,” “think tank,” or pet project. Most of the ideas these organizations pump out are pipe dreams that fail, but 1% become the next sweeping government mandate that gets shoved down the rest of the country’s throat.

In the West, we feel the devastating effects of one misguided, half-baked government program after another. Nowhere is this more apparent than in public lands policy. Rather than relying on farmers, ranchers, outdoorsmen, lumberjacks, surveyors, oil workers, miners, or community leaders who have decades of land use experience, government policymakers turn to 25-year-olds with master’s degrees in ecology and political science to run the country’s public lands policy. These white-collar swamp creatures have no experience raising livestock (I bet half of D.C. staffers have never even seen cattle), growing crops, harvesting timber, or extracting mineral and energy essentials, but, somehow, they are entrusted to govern rural America.

President Joe Biden’s administration is led by this particular brand of educated and out-of-touch staffers, freshly released from leftist ideology indoctrination camps — otherwise known as colleges and universities. One of Biden’s first land-use executive orders was to move forward on what leftists call the “30 x 30” program, which aims to lock up 30% of America’s lands and waters in permanent preservation status by 2030. While this idea is new to most of America, it’s been cooking in the swamp Crock-Pot for some time.

George Soros’s Center for American Progress started talking about this Democratic land grab in 2019, and then-Sen. Kamala Harris and then-Rep. Deb Haaland were co-sponsors of a resolution supporting the policy. Harris is now vice president, Haaland is now secretary of the Interior Department, and the president of the Center for American Progress, Neera Tanden, was nominated to be the director of the Office of Management and Budget (and after she was denied by the Senate for being too radical, Biden promised her another key job in his White House).

Suddenly, what was once considered a fringe, pseudo-scientific, environmental extremist view has now become mainstream. And by the way, the Democratic land grabs won’t stop with locking up 30% of our land in nine years — the Center for American Progress’s original paper called for locking up 50% of our lands and waters by 2050. It’s hard to keep up with the Democrats’ sprint to the left, but it has gone so far that even Bill Maher is starting to sound like a conservative.

Global climate czars such as Greta Thunberg and John Kerry travel the world in private jets to preach about how creating more wilderness is essential to stop the existential threat of global warming. Most of the country rightfully finds this hypocritical and ridiculous, but Wall Street keeps paying Kerry’s speaking fees and Hulu keeps pushing documentaries praising Thunberg. Biden’s administration is the ultimate victory march of the woke corporate Left, and it is now pushing its radical environmental agenda on the whole country.

While I’m doubtful that the Earth’s temperature going up less than 2 degrees in the next century is an existential threat, I know that the 30 x 30 initiative is an existential threat to private property rights in this country. The federal government already has 111 million acres locked up in wilderness status and owns more than 640 million acres, so where will it get the 681 million additional acres proponents say are necessary to lock up 30% of the country’s land and waters in the next nine years? The Biden administration has explicitly stated that private property is not exempt from the 30 x 30 initiative, so let’s take a look behind the curtain to see what its plan is.

In the West, we are familiar with government land grabs, and we can smell this one coming from a mile away. More than 55% of my congressional district is federal land, and that number keeps expanding. Private property owners are familiar with eminent domain and losing their property rights, farmers and ranchers have experienced losing their water rights, outdoorsmen are accustomed to losing access to their favorite hunting and fishing spots, energy workers are familiar with being laid off due to radical federal land-use policies and land designations, and county governments and municipalities have been steamrolled by the whims of federal bureaucrats. If the West’s experience has taught us anything, it’s that environmental extremists and the swamp have no problem using the heavy hand of government to control our daily lives.

Enough is enough, and that is why I am introducing the “30 x 30 Termination Act” to prevent private land from being seized, ensure multiple-use of our public lands, and nullify the 30 x 30 land grab.

While leftists will surely see my opposition to the 30 x 30 program as symptomatic of me “hating the environment,” it really stems from my respect for the Constitution and the oath I took to protect it. The 30 x 30 program is more than a land policy, it’s a fundamental shift in America’s way of life. America was founded on private property rights, but the 30 x 30 program relies on the false assumption that private property owners don’t know how to manage their land responsibly. Instead, it proposes that we be beholden to the administrative state to govern the land that’s America’s lifeblood.

Teddy Roosevelt, a proud Republican and the father of the conservation movement, said, “The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom.” The spirit of the great outdoors and the spirit of America is freedom — let’s keep freedom alive by preventing woke bureaucrats from trampling on property rights with more land grabs.


Rep. Boebert's editorial was originally published in the Washington Examiner.

Issues:AgricultureStanding up for Local CommunitiesEnergy and Natural Resources