Congresswoman Lauren Boebert led 18 Members of Congress in an effort opposing the illegal tactics the Biden regime is using to implement the 30x30 land grab.
Congresswoman Lauren Boebert said, “The Biden regime is going around the law by implementing its 30x30 land grab to lock up 30% of public and private property and water by 2030 without providing for public comment or following other required legal procedures. The National Environmental Protection Act clearly requires the federal government to create an Environmental Impact Statement for major federal actions and open a forum for public comment. If a minor project like building a shed in a national park requires an Environmental Impact Statement, surely a massive endeavor like locking up 30% of the landmass and waters of the entire United States requires one. This is the largest land grab in American history, and the American public deserves far more transparency from the Biden regime. What are they trying to hide?”
In one of his first actions since taking office, Joe Biden issued Executive Order 14008 to codify enviros’ pipe dream of locking up 30% of all public and private property and water by 2030. According to the Department of Interior, 12% of land in the United States is “permanently protected” and 23% of water in the United States is “strongly protected.” Therefore, to reach its goal, the 30x30 initiative must lock up an additional 681 million additional acres in the next 8 years.
For context, the federal government already has 111 million acres locked up in wilderness status and owns more than 640 million acres. Even if every acre of federal land were designated wilderness (which is not possible given expansive federal facilities like military bases, etc.) the federal government would still need to lock up 40 million acres of private land to reach its goal. For comparison, 40 million acres is almost the size of North Dakota.
The 30x30 initiative was cooked up by George Soros’ Center for American Progress. Soros’ original pseudoscientific policy called for locking up 30% of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030 and locking up 50% of the nation’s lands and waters by 2050. This catastrophic land grab will not stop with 30% of our lands and waters. Leftists in Vermont just passed a bill locking up 50% of the state by 2050. It is only a matter of time before they come for Colorado.
Since the 30 x 30 initiative is largest land grab in American history and will have sweeping impacts for Coloradans, it certainly warrants an extensive Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Protection Act.
Rep. Boebert has been an active critic of the 30 x 30 program, and she introduced the 30 x 30 Termination Act to defund and nullify Executive Order 14008 and defend private property in rural communities. Additionally, Rep. Boebert introduced an amendment to a Democrat land grab bill to nullify the 30x30 program. Rep. Boebert also joined 12 Senators and 50 Representatives in a letter to President Biden demanding explanations for how he plans to carry out his 30x30 land grab.
Signers of Rep. Boebert’s letter include Reps. Andy Biggs (AZ-5), Russ Fulcher (ID-1), Louie Gohmert (TX-1), Paul Gosar (AZ-4), Vicky Hartzler (MO-4), Ronny Jackson (TX-13), Doug Lamborn (CO-5), Nancy Mace (SC-1), Tracey Mann (KS-1), August Pfluger (TX-11), Adrian Smith (NE-3), Tom Tiffany (WI-7), Matt Rosendale (MT-At Large), Michael Cloud (TX-27), Ken Buck (CO-4), Ted Budd (NC-13), and Jason Smith (MO-8).
The full text of Rep. Boebert’s letter is available below:
On January 27, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 14008 (Order) entitled “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.” In Section 216 of the Order, the President directed the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) (collectively, the Departments), to submit a report recommending steps the federal government should take, working with state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments, agricultural and forest landowners, fishermen, and other key stakeholders, to achieve the goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030, otherwise known as “30x30” or “America the Beautiful.”
According to a January 27, 2021 “Fact Sheet” issued by the Interior Department, 12 percent of the lands in the United States are considered “permanently protected” and about 23 percent of the United States’ waters are considered “strongly protected.” To reach 30 percent by 2030, hundreds of millions of acres of land and water will be impacted. A program of this magnitude requires solid legal authority and a clear plan, yet the administration has articulated neither, leaving our constituents in the dark.
What is clear, however, is the Departments are implementing the 30x30 initiative without first analyzing the program’s public and environmental impact, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We are calling on you to refrain from any actions in the furtherance of 30x30 until a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been completed and the legal authority under which this major federal program is proceeding has been disclosed.
On April 21, 2021, the governors of fifteen states, wrote to President Biden to express their concern regarding this new federal program. They rightly emphasized 30x30 will adversely impact the productive use of hundreds of millions of acres of land, harming local economies and infringing on private property rights. They also noted the lack of any legal justification or clear plan for implementation. They also explained the states have not been consulted on the 30x30 initiative, even though the Order and Interior Department’s Fact Sheet stated the Departments would “undertake the [30x30] process with broad engagement” including engagement with states. Their letter requested answers to twelve questions regarding the 30x30 initiative, nearly one year later, these basic questions remain unanswered and the Departments have not consulted with the states.
Despite the lack of transparency and promised consultation, 30x30 is moving forward outside the scope of public review. In December 2021, acting as the “America the Beautiful Interagency Working Group Co-Chairs,” the Departments jointly published a report entitled “Year One Report America the Beautiful.” The report states the 30x30 initiative will expand to other federal departments and agencies, becoming an “all-of-government initiative.” Thus, the scope of this already-enormous new federal program grew even more with no authorization.
The implementation of a nation-wide federal initiative of this magnitude squarely raises the Departments’ lack of compliance with NEPA. NEPA applies to proposals to take major federal actions and is intended to ensure federal agencies will identify and carefully consider the action’s impact on the human environment before they are implemented.
At the heart of NEPA is the requirement for a detailed environmental analysis to be prepared and issued for public comment. According to the CEQ, this process should be integrated with the federal agency’s planning and authorization processes and begin at the earliest reasonable time during the decision-making process. Until the NEPA process has been properly completed, no action concerning the proposal may be taken which may have an adverse impact or limit the choice of reasonable alternatives.
As you know, the term “major federal action” is broadly defined by the CEQ and includes, among other things, “new and continuing activities, including projects and programs entirely or partly financed, assisted, conducted, regulated, or approved by Federal agencies.” CEQ’s regulations also state the major federal actions subject to NEPA include: “Adoption of formal plans, such as official documents prepared or approved by Federal agencies, which prescribe alternative uses of Federal resources, upon which future agency actions will be based”; and “Adoption of programs, such as a group of concerted actions to implement a specific policy or plan; [and] systematic and connected agency decisions allocating agency resources to implement a specific statutory program or executive directive.”
The 30x30 program clearly meets these definitions. The stated goal of 30x30 is to conserve at least 30 percent of the United States’ lands and waters by 2030. Thus, it will potentially affect the long-term use and management of hundreds of millions of acres.
Additionally, CEQ recently proposed new NEPA rules for the federal government, increasing the federal burden for permitting any sort of infrastructure. This will inevitably increase public scrutiny of nearly every project with a federal nexus. Even the most complex road, bridge, or transmission project pales in comparison to the impact of relegating hundreds of millions of acres into conservation status. The 30x30 program cannot be achieved without substantial impacts on private property and multiple use federal lands. At minimum, it is the administration’s obligation to provide a plan, legal justification, and venue for the public to participate.
For the reasons specified, we respectfully ask the Departments to comply with NEPA before proceeding any further with the 30x30 program. The NEPA process would facilitate development and disclosure of the program’s details and support informed public participation, as well as satisfying public disclosure obligations. Without full disclosure of the details of the 30x30 program, its environmental, budgetary, and legal impacts remain unknown and the public is left in the dark. This is hardly the open and transparent process the administration promised.
We respectfully request a written response providing us with a clear statement of the legal authority by which the 30x30 initiative is authorized. Additionally, if you determine a Programmatic EIS is not necessary to implement 30x30, please provide us with a written, legally-cited explanation for how the program is exempt from the requirements of NEPA by June 10, 2022.