The Malheur County Court has added its voice in opposition to U.S. President Joe Biden’s executive order to conserve 30% of U.S. land and water in the U.S. by 2030, as a way to safeguard the nation’s health, food supplies biodiversity and prosperity.
The court on Wednesday approved a resolution outlining its stance on the president’s order to address the climate crisis, which was issued in January, and included a pause on new oil and gas leases on public lands, as well as created a White House office of environmental justice.
According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Interior, the administration will work toward this goal through local, state, private and tribally led conservation and restoration efforts that already are underway across the country. The focus is to align the management of the nation’s public lands and water with our nation’s climate, conservation and clean energy goals, the release reads.
The county’s resolution reads that the so-called “30 X 30” program would set aside about 680 million acres of the public land, “preventing the productive use of these lands and their resources.”
The court states that the government has no constitutional or other authority to set aside and permanently preserve 30% of land water in the U.S.
“The withdrawal of some 680 million acres of federal lands from multiple use and placement of such lands in permanent conservation status will cause dramatic and irreversible harm to the economics of many western states, including Oregon and, in particular, rural counties, such as Malheur County whose citizens depend of access to federal land for their livelihoods,” the resolution reads.
The statement concludes that the court opposes designation of public land in Malheur County as wilderness, wilderness study areas and other designations that restrict public access to those lands and prevent development and productive uses of those land; that it supports management of those lands for multiple uses and their resources, which can be sustainably used; and that the court supports maintaining and enhancing public lands, while opposing road closures.
The resolution concludes that the court supports reasonable greenhouse gas emissions policies that are practical, cost-effective and do not single out specific industries to achieve specific goals, “but opposes the use of global climate change as an excuse to set aside large tracts of land as preserves or open space to fulfill the 30 X 30 program’s objectives.”
Farm Bureau urges Administration for clear intent, public input
The American Farm Bureau Federation on April 23 called on the Biden Administration to “act responsibly” regarding the goal and stated that “concerns of farmers and ranchers are escalating regarding the intent of the 30x30 goal, the definition of conservation, and the metrics for defining success, among other things.” The bureau urged the administration to “move swiftly to provide clarity about your intentions,” as well as “invite public comment, because farmers and ranchers are leaders in conservation and deserve to have their voices heard.”
For generations, farmers and ranchers have led the way in conservation, and good land stewardship, both private and public, the bureau states, and those in ag want to know whether the work already done to voluntarily enroll more than 140 million acres of private land into federal and non-federal conservation programs will be recognized. It was additionally noted that about 28% of U.S. land is currently in federal ownership and conserved as part of the federal estate, compared to 8% of land being owned by the states.