North Dakota’s Senator Kevin Cramer and 20 of his colleagues have formally requested the Biden Administration prepare an Environmental Impact Statement on the 30×30 program initiated by Presidential Executive Order 14008 on January 27, 2021.
In the letter dated May 11, 2022, to Chairman Brenda Mallory of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the Senators enumerate the legal requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act that compel the analysis. They also call on the Administration to discontinue the program until the study has been completed and approved stating:
“What is clear, however, is the Departments are implementing the 30×30 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 30×30 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.”
The Senators are giving the Administration until June 15, 2022, to provide a written response of the “legal authority by which the 30×30 initiative is authorized.” They are also requiring a “written, legally-cited explanation” if the Administration claims the program is exempt from NEPA.
American Stewards’ executive director, Margaret Byfield, praised the letter.
“We are deeply appreciative the Senators have taken this action to require accountability and transparency from the Biden Administration on 30×30. The Administration is side-stepping the very law America’s landowners must comply with to produce our nation’s food, fiber, minerals and energy. If the Administration is certain we are in a crisis and our lands must be protected, then they should not fear the outcome of a NEPA study. We are very thankful to Senator Cramer for his leadership on this vital issue.”
Garfield County, Colorado Commissioner Tom Jankovsky also praised the Senator’s action:
“Garfield County supports the request by Senator Cramer and his colleagues to enact NEPA concerning the 30×30 program. The 30×30 is a programmatic change for the lands of the United States and will require a thorough environmental analysis.”
CFACT President Craig Rucker also praised the Senator’s action:
“Locking up a third of America’s land as a nature preserve, which is essentially what the 30×30 initiative hopes to achieve, will have devastating consequences on businesses, communities, and private citizens alike. It is hard to envision that if a NEPA study were done correctly, as the Senators are requesting, it would in any way find grounds for this ill-conceived, reckless policy initiative to proceed onward. It needs to be kickstarted immediately!”
James Taylor, President of the Heartland Institute also praised the Senators:
“Locking up the American people’s land under the guise of fighting global warming is nonsensical, counter-productive, and an assault on rural America. This great land can remain free only if the people themselves own the vast majority of the land. With government control of our lands comes government oppression. Moreover, the American people themselves, rather than government, are the best caretakers of their land. When government gets involved, neglect, corruption, and mismanagement invariably follow.”
The twenty-one United States Senators who have called on the Biden Administration to comply with NEPA are:
Kevin Cramer, (ND), Shelley Moore Capito, (WV), Cynthia M. Lummis, (WY), John Hoeven, (ND), Mike Crapo, (ID), James M. Inhofe, (OK), Roger Marshall, M.D., (KS), Chuck Grassley, (IA), James E. Risch, (ID), Bill Cassidy, M.D., (LA), M. Michael Rounds, (SD), Mitt Romney, (UT), Jerry Moran, (KS), Lisa Murkowski, (AK), Deb Fischer, (NE), John Thune, (SD), Ted Cruz, (TX), Dan Sullivan, (AK), Joni K. Ernst, (IA), James Lankford, (OK), John Cornyn, (TX)