ALBION - Since President Joe Biden unveiled his 30x30 plan, all that’s really been revealed about it is its goal: to conserve 30 percent of American land by 2030.
Very few other specifics have been revealed, but for Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, he knows enough to know he doesn’t like it.
Almost immediately after Biden's plan was announced the governor began a full-court press against it, visiting towns all over Nebraska urging residents and elected leaders to oppose Biden's plan.
"We want people to be aware of what the program is and how they can protect themselves from additional encroachment on their property rights by the federal government," Ricketts said in an interview with News Channel Nebraska.
Vague and ambitious climate plans are nothing new. In early 2020, then Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue announced a plan to cut the ag industry’s carbon footprint in half by 2050 with very few details as to how that would actually happen.
There were no statewide tours warning Nebraskans about government overreach then, and some think Governor Ricketts is merely playing politics now.
"Governor Ricketts is lying to Nebraskans," said Jane Kleeb, chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party in a June interview with News Channel Nebraska. She says the governor's tour is hypocritical, given his support for the recently canceled Keystone XL oil pipeline.
"It's remarkable that Governor Ricketts is on this tour of lies talking about 30x30, which is a volunteer conservation easement program, as a land grab. For years the Nebraska Republican Party has been completely absent, including [Ricketts], when we've actually had a formal land grab from a foreign oil corporation."
But Ricketts says the Biden plan is more dangerous than any that’s come before.
"This is all going to impact our small towns and rural communities because this is all primarily going to be ag land here in our state," Ricketts told NCN. "That means that you're going to be taking off the table about one-third of what we have available to grow food."
Ricketts has been telling local elected officials to oppose the 30x30 plan, and they’ve been largely doing as they’re told. Over 50 county boards have passed resolutions officially opposing the executive order, including Gage County just last week.
"They can review those conservation easement applications," Ricketts said. "If they are a zoned county and they have a comprehensive land-use plan in place, as well as with maybe a natural resources plan, they can deny conservation easements if they do not fit with their overall comprehensive plan."
The finish line of the 30x30 plan falls years after the Biden and Ricketts administrations will both be over, and there’s a chance that all of this discussion will be sound and fury signifying nothing. Even Ricketts himself acknowledges that’s the case.
"I hope at the end of the day that this does come to nothing," Ricketts told NCN. "That would be the best outcome. In fact, the Biden Administration should just withdraw this now, so they can ease everybody's minds."
Ricketts will be discussing the 30x30 executive order at the Albion Country Club at 6 p.m. Wednesday. You can hear the governor's entire interview with NCN and get more info about the plan from both sides below.
FULL INTERVIEW WITH GOV. RICKETTS:
Read the Center for American Progress report cited in the above interview here.
Read what the American Stewards of Liberty have to say about the 30x30 plan here (NOTE: They ask for personal information before providing their guide.)