Does the plan actually deserve a rating of 0 x 0?
At present, the U.S. protects 26 percent of its coastal waters and 12 percent of its land. President Joe Biden has committed to increasing those numbers to 30 percent each by decade’s end, through his environmental initiative nicknamed “30 x 30.” It will be difficult to pull off, as the additional area required for conservation comprises twice the size of Texas.
Many Republicans criticize it as a massive federal intervention and land grab. (Although much, though not all, of the initiative is actually just lending federal support to existing local, state, private, and tribal conservation initiatives.)
What the legislation does
The 30 x 30 Termination Act would overturn Biden’s Executive Order 14008, which created the 30 x 30 program.
The legislation would also overturn other aspects of the executive order, including its temporary pause for new oil and natural gas leases on federal lands, establishing the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, and establishing the National Climate Task Force.
While the House bill number H.R. 3030 would seemingly have been perfect given its subject matter, that was snagged by the Lead by Example Act later that same day.
What supporters say
Supporters argue the initiative is federal government overreach and could take away people’s private property.
“Locking up 30 percent of all our land and water within the next decade is a dream killer for future generations and local economies and will also prevent Americans from utilizing their public lands and enjoying the outdoors,” Rep. Boebert said in a press release. “In the West, we are all too familiar with government land grabs, and we can see this one coming from a mile away. I’m honored to have so much support from Americans throughout the country for my bill that seeks to block the 30 x 30 program and prevent this government expansion.”
“Land ownership is a core right protected by the Constitution and we cannot allow radical environmentalists who are in the driver’s seat on 30 x 30 dictate what happens on our land,” Sen. Marshall said in a separate press release. “This initiative is further proof of the clear disconnect between the left and those who feed, fuel, and clothe the world. Farmers and ranchers are the original conservationists, and no one knows what’s best for the land better than those who work on it day in and day out.”
What opponents say
Opponents counter that the 30 x 30 initiative is necessary to preserve biodiversity, combat the climate crisis, and preserve clean air and water. Some proponents, though not yet Biden specifically, have even suggested preserving 30 percent of land and coastal water by 2030 as a precursor to a larger goal: preserving 50 percent by 2050.
“The ambition of this goal reflects the urgency of the challenges we face: the need to do more to safeguard the drinking water, clean air, food supplies, and wildlife upon which we all depend; the need to fight climate change with the natural solutions that our forests, agricultural lands, and the ocean provide; and the need to give every child in America the chance to experience the wonders of nature,” a joint report by Biden’s Departments of Interior, Agriculture, and Commerce read.
“Rather than simply measuring conservation progress by national parks, wilderness lands, and marine protected areas in the care of the government, the president’s vision recognizes and celebrates the voluntary conservation efforts of farmers, ranchers, and forest owners; the leadership of sovereign Tribal Nations in caring for lands, waters, and wildlife; the contributions and stewardship traditions of America’s hunters, anglers, and fishing communities; and the vital importance of investing in playgrounds, trails, and open space in park-deprived communities,” the report continued.
Odds of passage
The bill has attracted 25 cosponsors, all Republicans. It awaits a potential vote in either the House Agriculture or Natural Resources Committee.
Odds of passage are low in the Democratic-controlled chamber.