Ricketts slams Biden’s 30×30 plan, says bureaucrats ‘don’t know Nebraska’

Head of Nebraska Farmers Union says governor is 'saying things that are just simply not true'

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – On Friday, Gov. Pete Ricketts lashed out against President Joe Biden’s “America the Beautiful” initiative, also known as the 30×30 Plan.

Critics of the initiative have dubbed it a federal government land grab.

Rickets shared his concerns at the Stop 30×30 Summit at the Graduate hotel in Lincoln.

“Thomas Jefferson warned about this, about how governments tend toward tyranny as they get bigger,” he said. “That is what we’re facing right now: a government that wants to expand its authority.”

Ricketts is concerned that the initiative infringes on the rights of private property owners.

“Nobody cares more about our land, our water, our air than we do here in Nebraska because we live here,” he said. “We don’t need some bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., half a continent away, telling us what to do. They don’t know Nebraska; we know Nebraska.”

Ninety-seven percent of Nebraska is privately owned.

According to the United States Geological Survey, 12% of U.S. land was protected in 2020. In order to get to 30% by 2030, 440 million more acres would have to be conserved.

“That is nine states of Nebraska,” Ricketts said.

John Hansen is the president of the Nebraska Farmers Union, a nonpartisan organization that has been serving farmers since 1913 and serves 4,000 families across the state.

He believes that Ricketts is playing politics.

“When all of the programs are voluntary, there is no land grab, so he’s saying things that are just simply not true,” Hansen said.

These voluntary conservation programs give Nebraska farmers and ranchers opportunities to apply for cost-share funding in exchange for agreeing to not farm environmentally sensitive land.

“Gov. Ricketts represents the first time I’ve seen a major political official ever try to make utilization of conservation cost-share programs a partisan issue,” Hansen said.

According to the Governor’s Office, the governments of 68 of Nebraska’s 93 counties oppose 30×30.

Ricketts said he sent a letter to Biden last year asking for clarification on how the U.S. plans on getting to 30% by 2030.

“What’s the definition of conservation? How are you planning to do this?” Ricketts asked “Where’s your authority? We are now 15 months later, and the president still has not responded to our letter.”

A survey of more than 500 registered Nebraska voters shows that more than three-quarters support the America the Beautiful initiative, with majority support across party lines.

Hansen believes that Biden’s goal should be in interpreted as aspirational as opposed to literal.

“The better care we take of our soil and water, the more productive our state’s going to be and the more solid and productive and positive our future will be,” Hansen said.

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