CUSTER COUNTY- While most of the meeting was fairly uneventful, the two hot topic items for the Custer County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, April 13 was the 30×30 Initiative and 2nd Amendment Proclamation. A packed supervisor’s room saw a number of landowners speak against the initiative which comes forward after the Biden Administration released environmental plans of protecting 30% of U.S. land and coastal waters by 2030.
Concerns of the public centered on the federal government using conservation easements and other means that would allow the government to control the land regardless of who owns it in the future. With the land being owned federally, it would then not be subject to property taxes, increasing the burden on other property owners. With approximately 97% of land in Nebraska being privately owned, producers are concerned if this trend holds true, the property tax burden would be too much for landowners to handle.
Another concern from those in attendance is the local control that would be taken away if the land was controlled by the federal government. One person that spoke during the discussion stated the government was looking to control the land which in turn controls the people.
Steve Bowers, Custer County Attorney, said there has to be a balance between the rights of private landowners and what is best for the county in its entirety. Bowers also noted that there are definitely things to look into when it comes to conservation easements. Supervisor Barry Fox noted the time of these concerns coming to the public was timed perfectly as the board is currently in the process of looking into some of the zoning laws and making sure everything is being used as it should.
It was also noted that the executive order has scary language and is vague, but at this time the agencies in charge are only gathering input to create a report to submit to the President. While no proclamation was declared during the meeting, Bowers stated that a large number of topic items will be looked into regarding land use, conditional use permits, and so forth.
The 2nd Amendment was the second hot topic item during the meeting with a retired Lincoln Police Department detective, veterans, mothers, fathers, firearm instructors, and a number of other citizens asking the Supervisors to adopt a resolution in support of the 2nd Amendment.
While the 2nd Amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” there are many across the U.S. that believe many federal decisions have begun to infringe on those rights.
In a recent executive order, President Biden is urging the passage of Red Flag Laws, the proliferation of ‘Ghost Guns,’ laws on stabilizing braces, and firearm registration which many believe is a violation of the 2nd Amendment. During the meeting Tuesday, a number of people asked the Supervisors to take a stand clearly stating that the 2nd Amendment is important for the need to be able to protect our homes, property, family, and others.
After the public finished speaking, Steve Bowers stated that the resolutions that were created show the support for upholding the constitution but they do not say they will refuse to follow federal law. He continued saying that in his position he has to look at the best options available that will show where the county board stands without opening things up to a possible lawsuit by refusing federal laws.
Bowers said the two possible resolutions were borrowed from other counties and revised for Custer County. Supervisor Fox read both resolutions with the resolution that was also passed in Furnas County being selected and unanimously approved for Custer County. The entire resolution can be found below.
Other approvals from the meeting included a work write-up for the home rehabilitation grant, awarding bids for culvert pipe, gravel, and a bridge project, lawn care/snow removal bids, and finally approving contract bids for bridge lettings near Berwyn, Broken Bow, and Ansley.