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U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert gives speech on Earth Day to oppose Biden conservation goal

Congresswoman touts her legislation, ‘The 30 x 30 Termination Act,’ at summit in Nebraska
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., speaks at a news conference July 29 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press file)

WASHINGTON – Rep. Lauren Boebert met with conservatives in Nebraska on Earth Day to drum up opposition against the Biden administration’s goal to conserve 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.

The “Stop the 30 x 30 Summit” featured Boebert and other opponents of the America the Beautiful initiative, also known as the “30 x 30” plan.

Boebert’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment or provide an outline of her planned remarks at the summit.

Media strategist Gabriella Hoffman, who attended the event, tweeted a comment attributed to Boebert at the summit: “If you truly want to cut carbon emissions, don’t lock up our lands. Allow us ... to be stewards of that land.”

The conservation initiative is part of a larger executive order to combat climate change and aims to more than double the 13% of national lands and waters with permanent federal protection. The ambitious goal requires conserving over 440 million acres of land by 2030, an area twice the size of Texas, leading some farmers and conservatives to label the plan a “land grab.” Conservation efforts involving private landowners are voluntary, according to the initiative.

“The president’s challenge is a call to action to support locally led conservation and restoration efforts of all kinds and all over America, wherever communities wish to safeguard the lands and waters they know and love,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and others in a statement about the initiative. “Doing so will not only protect our lands and waters but also boost our economy and support jobs nationwide.”

Boebert has labeled the goal as an overreach of the federal government’s power and said allocating more land to conservation could threaten economic development.

In response to the initiative, Boebert introduced the “The 30 x 30 Termination Act,” which would nullify the conservation program and prevent the use of federal money for any similar initiatives. Parallel legislation was introduced in the Senate, but neither bill has made any progress in Congress since their May 2021 introductions.

“Locking up 30% of all our land and water within the next decade is a dream killer for future generations and local economies and will also prevent Americans from utilizing their public lands and enjoying the outdoors,” Boebert said in a statement announcing her bill last year.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts hosted the summit, which was organized by the private property rights advocacy group American Stewards of Liberty.

Organizers promised attendees resources to fight the initiative and said the summit would “connect America’s working landowners with the policymakers in position to stop the land grab, to advocate effective solutions, and to strengthen the movement that has emerged to stop Biden’s agenda.”

Skye Witley, a senior at American University in Washington, D.C., is an intern for The Durango Herald and The Journal in Cortez. He can be reached at switley@durangoherald.com.

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