Wyo4News Staff, [email protected] [PRESS RELEASE]
CHEYENNE, WYOMING (MAY 8, 2021) — Governor Gordon has issued the following statement on the Biden Administration’s 30×30 report, which calls for setting aside 30% of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030:
“The Biden Administration’s report on the 30×30 initiative has been met with both skepticism and applause, and I find both are warranted. Although not consulted early in the process, I assigned a small team to convey our suggestions, and the report’s overall tone appears to have captured much of the input. This is encouraging and at least an acknowledgement that our concerns were heard.
As always, proof lies in action, not words. I am cautiously optimistic that the administration will leave 30×30 in the hands of locally based, cooperative, and truly voluntary efforts. If this initiative is not implemented in a way that focuses on the local level, it is surely doomed.
For example, an early focus of the report is to create more parks and, while the national park system is an effective way to set aside lands, Wyoming already has massive amounts of land in this system. Historically, these parks have been put in place when federal land was extremely expansive, and few people had come West. Wyomingites enjoy these places today as much as any other American, but, as one of the western states with large amounts of federal land, we cannot be the conservation colony of the nation. Wyoming is not the nation’s national park where nothing can happen to create jobs, sustain our communities, bolster our industries, and find our own prosperity. That being said, the report does emphasize and outline a goal that would maintain geographically diverse conservation – a concept that should alleviate many of these concerns, and a commitment I expect to see honored.
I am particularly pleased to see the strong recognition of private property rights and the commitment to stewardship that private landowners have shown. If 30×30 provides for long-due recognition of the excellent stewardship our ranchers and farmers provide in the West, especially in Wyoming, this is a great step forward. I am also happy to see the recognition of a national loss of farms and ranches due to fragmentation and development, something Wyoming is well aware of. I am hopeful this all leads to appropriate compensation for the multiple long-term values agriculture provides.
The recognition of existing programs our landowners have with agencies like the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Natural Resource Conservation Service is also appreciated. These have been truly voluntary programs, and if this is the spirit carried forward by this initiative, we can build upon previous success.
Much of the implementation of this initiative will come down to what is considered “conservation” and what is not. I am certainly willing to work towards the integrated approach the report calls for and will continue to advocate for an approach to Wyoming that is led by Wyoming. If the radical left-wing agenda is allowed to permeate this process and sway definitions, Wyoming wants no part of it; if it remains place-based and truly voluntary, it could provide new opportunities for our landowners and our long-standing successful history in ecosystem management to prevail.”