The right-wing effort to derail Biden’s conservation plan, explained

“These arguments seem to assume that, to hit the 30 percent goal, the federal government will forbid access to public land, seize private property, and ignore the conservation benefit of working lands that are managed with biodiversity in mind.

But as far as we know, that’s not what the government is proposing, according to Collin O’Mara, the CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “This is the furthest from a land grab,” O’Mara said. “There’s nothing proposed that affects private property rights.”

On public lands, which are far more expansive in the West, the Interior Department may continue to restrict access to extractive industries, said Weiss, of the Center for Western Priorities. In late January, the Biden administration paused new oil and gas leasing on federal lands.

But those restrictions are unlikely to target working lands, said Weiss and O’Mara. On the contrary, 30 by 30 is likely to open up more federal land to recreational activities, and even make them more productive through restoration and better management, they added. Just last month, the Interior Department announced a proposal for the largest expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities in US history. (The Interior Department declined to comment for this story.)

When it comes to private lands, the government has made it clear that any conservation efforts will be voluntary for the landowner. “The government rarely uses eminent domain,” Weiss said. (A notable exception would be the Trump administration, Weiss added, which seized private property to build the US-Mexico border wall, though outcry from conservatives was absent then. “That is the biggest irony here,” he said.)”

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