Gordon Calls Biden’s 30×30 Project ‘A Great Step Forward’
Governor Mark Gordon recently issued a statement regarding the Biden Administration's 30x30 Report (a goal to conserve 30 percent of the nation's land and waters by the year 2030), and the Governor was cautiously optimistic about what the report entailed.
"The Biden Administration’s report on the 30x30 initiative has been met with both skepticism and applause, and I find both are warranted," Governor Gordon stated. "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."
Governor Gordon stated that, "As always, proof lies in actions, not words" but said that he is "cautiously optimistic that the administration will leave 30x30 in the hands of locally based, cooperative, and truly voluntary efforts."
Gordon said that if the 30x30 plan isn't implemented in a way that can be operated on a local level, "it is surely doomed."
The 30x30 report, or the 'America the Beautiful' report, as President Biden has called it, outlines steps that America could take to safeguard key areas on land and in sea, to restore biodiversity, confront climate change and make natural spaces more accessible.
"For example," Governor Gordon said, "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."
Since then, many people have 'come West,' which is a good thing, but Gordon said that Wyoming should not bear the burden of the entire nation's conservation plan.
"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," he said. "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."
Gordon also acknowledged the private property rights outlined in the report.
"I am particularly pleased to see the strong recognition of private property rights and the commitment to stewardship that private landowners have shown," he said. "If 30x30 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."
Gordon also had glowing words for the report's recognition of organizations like the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Natural Resource Conservation Service.
"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," he said. "These have been truly voluntary programs, and if this is the spirit carried forward by this initiative, we can build upon previous success."
Gordon stated that large parts of the 30x30 initiative will depend on what is considered 'conservation' and what is not. He said that if the report remains fair to Wyoming and other parts of the West, he is willing to work with the Biden Administration, without the involvement of the 'radical, left-wing agenda.'
"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," the Governor stated. "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."