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Senators Demand NEPA Review of 30x30 Initiative
South Dakota Ag Connection - 05/13/2022

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Ag Committee, joined 20 colleagues in a letter to White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Brenda Mallory. In the letter, the senators urge the council to adhere to the National Environmental Policy Act requirements and undergo the proper analysis and public comment period for the Biden Administration's goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030. This policy is otherwise known as "30x30."

The letter was led by Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Roger Marshall (R-KS).

Additional cosigners include Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Jim Risch (R-ID), John Hoeven (R-ND), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Joni Ernst (R-IA), James Lankford (R-OK), John Thune (R-SD), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Ted Cruz (R-TX).

"To reach 30 percent by 2030, hundreds of millions of acres of land and water will be impacted. A program of this magnitude requires solid legal authority and a clear plan, yet the Administration has articulated neither, leaving our constituents in the dark. What is clear, however, is the Departments are implementing the 30x30 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 30x30 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," wrote the senators.

The letter argues 30x30, which despite the promises of transparency and consultation, is moving forward without public input, constitutes a major federal action and is thus subject to NEPA to ensure federal agencies identify and carefully consider the program's impact on the environment, economy, and those affected.

"Without full disclosure of the details of the 30x30 program, its environmental, budgetary, and legal impacts remain unknown and the public is left in the dark. This is hardly the open and transparent process the Administration promised," wrote the senators.

The letter also requests the Departments provide the exact legal authority the Biden Administration is using to carry out this initiative by June 15, 2022.

"At minimum, it is the Administration's obligation to provide a plan, legal justification, and venue for the public to participate," continued the senators.

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