Gov. Ricketts speaks out on President Biden’s 30x30 campaign

Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 10:14 PM CDT
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CLAY CENTER, Neb. (KSNB) - Gov. Pete Ricketts was in Clay Center on Thursday to ask residents during a town hall to join the fight against President Biden’s proposed 30x30 initiative.

In this plan, Biden wants to preserve and protect 30% of America’s land by 2030, quoting climate change to be the reason for such action.

Gov. Ricketts opposes this initiative because he believes it’s a “land-grab.” In his opinion, it’s a ploy to steal land from private landowners.

The majority of land in Nebraska is privately owned and in order for the president to achieve 30%, Ricketts said he would need an additional 440 million more acres, according to his numbers.

“97% percent of the land in our state is privately owned and even if it’s not a direct confiscation, if you’re talking about things such as permanent conservation easements, you essentially lose control of your land, you don’t have all the property rights that you had before and you could never get them back again,” Ricketts said.

He also believes this will raise property taxes.

“If 97% of the land in Nebraska is privately owned and now you set aside 30% into permanent natural conservation, you’ve reduced the value of that land or taking off the tax entirely, that means everybody else’s property taxes go up to pay for the needed services like schools and roads.”

President Biden doesn’t mention anything about taking land in his proposal. In fact on page 15 of the report, it asks landowners to only voluntarily help them in this effort.

“The Biden Administration has really given us no details other than putting out the America the Beautiful plan which really doesn’t give us more information other than they say they want to do it voluntarily and work with local officials,” Ricketts said. My experience with the Biden Administration is they really don’t care to work with state and local officials.”

Local4 reached out to the USDA to respond to Governor Rickett’s town halls and how people are calling the 30x30 campaign a “land grab.”

Here’s what they said in a statement:

“The 30x30 initiative is not a ‘land grab.’ 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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