Nebraska Gov. Ricketts stirs up opposition to Biden's 30-by-30 conservation plan


Paul Hammel, Omaha World-Herald (NE) 

Jun 6, 2021


CLAY CENTER, Neb. — Farmers in seed corn hats and blue jeans crowded into a metal building at the Clay County Fairgrounds last week to hear Gov. Pete Ricketts decry what he says is the latest attempt at federal overreach.


The words “30x30 Land Grab” were projected in big letters behind the conservative Republican governor as he slammed President Joe Biden’s plan to preserve 30% of the nation’s land and water by 2030 as part of Biden’s “radical climate agenda.”


“This fight is now in our own backyard,” Ricketts told the crowd of more than 200 people. “We are on the front lines. We are in the trenches.”


Nebraska has become ground zero for opposition to the 30-by-30 plan, with nearly two dozen counties — the most in one state — adopting resolutions to block the plan. Last month, Ricketts launched a series of town hall meetings to foment opposition.


The governor, as well as advocates for private property rights, are suspicious of the plan, saying it lacks detail in how to preserve an area twice as large as Texas within a decade. Last month, a federal report outlined six broad suggestions for the 30-by-30 initiative, such as establishing parks in “nature-deprived communities.” But even that report said the recommendations were a “starting point” for additional conversation and refinement.


That Nebraska has become the center of the storm over the initiative has perplexed some supporters who claim opponents haven’t read the plan…


… In a state where 97% of all property is now in private hands, placing 30% in federal control would be a massive change, and would shift the property tax load onto private landowners, Ricketts said…