Story at a glance:

  • The 30 x 30 executive order is a voluntary plan to preserve 30 percent of the land by 2030, although details are still being worked out.
  • Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts does not like the idea in part because most of his state’s land is privately owned.
  • People on the far right are concerned about what they call government overreach whether it is about “land grabs” or controlling the water supply.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) has spoken out against President Biden’s 30 x 30 executive order also known as “America the Beautiful plan,” which by itself is limited on details, that calls for preserving 30 percent of the land by 2030. That’s the amount of land many scientists say should be preserved to protect species in a warming world.

Lacking information on the order, Ricketts worries that private land could be seized by the government, The Daily Beast reported.


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In a state like Nebraska where 97 percent of the land is privately owned, the 30 x 30 proposal poses a threat to the state's status quo, said Ricketts. Biden issued an executive order on Jan. 27.

Last Monday, the governor held an unmasked gathering of about 150 people to rail against the 30 x 30 proposal, The Grand Island Independent reported.

As of now, about 12 percent of U.S. land is being preserved.

According to The Daily Beast, the order is not going to seize private land but rather provide new protection to public and tribal lands, and by extension, pay farmers for adopting sustainable practices.

Yet Ricketts mocks the ideas of the plan, saying the order has to be voluntary and a local effort “because the president has no constitutional authority to do this.”

“And that’s why right now they’re saying it has to be all voluntary. Because to do otherwise, they’d have to go to Congress and get the authority to do more,” he added.

For Ricketts and 14 other governors who oppose the plan who sent a letter to President Biden, conservation is likened to government overreach.

Much of western America, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, are experiencing extreme drought, and governors such as Gov. Gavin Newson in California and Gov. Steve Sisolak in Nevada have to make desperate efforts to save water.

As Changing America previously reported, far-right anti-government activists are protesting against the water shutoffs to farmers in Northern California, a response to Newson’s drought solution. 

However, supporters of the Biden administration’s goal say the voluntary order is similar to measures already in place.

“The 30x30 initiative is not a ‘land grab,’ ” U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesperson Kate Waters told The Daily Beast. “Protecting private property rights and supporting the voluntary stewardship efforts of private landowners are at the core of the 30x30 initiative. These are voluntary conservation programs, like those currently in place, that have proven to be a vital tool in conserving America’s lands and waters with long-lasting benefits.”


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Published on Jun 09, 2021