GOP Governors Call on Biden to Pull Back Restrictions on Public and Private Lands

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, 15 Republican governors, led by Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, issued a joint letter urging President Biden to be more proactive in working with states on environmental conservation in response to an overreaching January 27 executive order that restricted the jurisdiction of states.

Executive Order 14008 calls to develop a program to conserve at least 30 percent of the lands and waters in the United States by 2030. The governors joining today’s effort are concerned about any attempt to enlarge the federal estate or further restrict the use of public lands in their states.

Signatories to the letter include Governors Pete Ricketts (NE), Doug Ducey (AZ), Kim Reynolds (IA), Doug Burgum (ND), Bill Lee (TN), Kay Ivey (AL), Asa Hutchinson (AR), Tate Reeves (MS), Kevin Stitt (OK), Greg Abbott (TX), Mike Dunleavy (AK), Brad Little (ID), Greg Gianforte (MT), Kristi Noem (SD) and Spencer Cox (UT).

Portions of the letter are included below:

“The undersigned are not aware of any constitutional or statutory authority for the President, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or any other federal agency to set aside and permanently conserve 30 percent of all land and water in the United States, and no authority is referenced in Executive Order 14008.”

“To date, we have not been adequately consulted on the 30 x 30 program.”

“The federal government already owns and manages approximately 640 million acres of land—about 28% of all land in the United States.  Are the lands already owned by the federal government counted toward the 30 x 30 goal?  Are these lands the program’s primary target?”

“We encourage your Administration to focus on better management of the lands the federal government already controls and to be more proactive in working with states. States are not simply additional stakeholders to consult in your policy development; states are essential partners and the leaders in developing innovative policies that already appropriately conserve lands, waters, and wildlife for the American people.”

View the signed letter here.