Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signs order as part of 30×30 environmental agenda
What started at the federal and global level has made its way to the state level — at least in New Mexico.
On Wednesday New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed executive order 2021-052 officially making New Mexico the first state to implement the environmental agenda 30 x 30 with executive action. California’s Gavin Newsome implemented a similar executive order in 2019, but only called for the study of 30 x 30.
Opponents said the move likely was done in an effort to show support for President Joe Biden’s executive order 14008 at the federal level for his 30 x 30 agenda. Lujan Grisham also cited in her executive order that it is “necessary to achieve the goals I committed New Mexico to in executive order 2019-003.”
The Biden administration has come under criticism for attempting to implement 30 x 30, allegedly intending to “permanently protect 30 percent of our lands and oceans in their natural state, by 2030.” It has been labeled a “land grab,” and has caused the administration to rebrand the effort as, “America the Beautiful.”
Governors from at least 15 states sent a letter to Biden opposing his executive order. Those states include many western and central U.S. states like Alaska, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Montana, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama.
In New Mexico, several counties also signed resolutions opposing the 30 x 30 agenda including Lea, Catron, Chaves, Otero, and the Logan Board of Education.
“I think (Lujan Grisham’s executive order) is 30 x 30 on steroids,” said American Stewards of Liberty executive director Margaret Byfield. “In all of the national and international literature they have talked about 30 x 30 ‘protecting’ the lands and oceans. This ads to that the fresh water in the list.”
Lujan Grisham also directly tied her executive order 2021-052 to Biden’s in three different statements in the order.
Byfield said while Lujan Grisham’s executive order is consistent with Biden’s “America the Beautiful” and similar environmental legislation in other countries, it lacks substance.
“It’s a lot of fluff. It’s a lot of wishes, and ‘we want to accomplish this,’ but there is no how, and no what,” Byfield told the News-Sun. “They don’t say how they’re going to do it. They say they’re pulling all of these agencies to meet quarterly to use existing programs to work toward this goal, but it doesn’t say what a win looks like. It doesn’t define what ‘conserve’ is. It doesn’t define any of the tools they are going to use.
“There’s no real, how are they going to do this, and what are they going to do. It’s really just a lot of goals and objectives. We have very little substance in which to really understand what they are intending with this.”
In July, Byfield, was invited by Lea County Commissioners Dean Jackson and Pat Sims to give a presentation and explain what the 30 x 30 program will do to land owners, ranchers, oil and gas producers, hunters and outdoor sorts enthusiasts. The Troy Harris Center in Lovington was filled to standing-room only to hear the presentation.
“We’re looking at a huge land grab that is going to fundamentally change land ownership in America,” Byfield said.
Jackson said Lujan Grisham’s action Wednesday shows she is out of touch with the needs of the state.
“She has just declared war against all of New Mexico,” Jackson said. “Not only rural, she declared war against you too. What she just said is your private property is not your private property any more.”
“He (Jackson) is right,” Byfield said. “It really is (war on New Mexico).”
And, as Byfield pointed out in her presentation in July, the 30 percent of land being “preserved” does not end there. Byfield said the administration’s goal is for 50 percent of land and oceans in the U.S. to be controlled by the state and federal government. This is part of a bigger environmental movement around the globe known as the “Half-Earth agenda” with a goal of setting aside one half of all area on Earth in it’s natural state, as untouched by human hands.
Lujan Grisham’s executive order seems to back this up by ordering, “The State of New Mexico sets the goal of having at least 30 percent of all lands in New Mexico conserved by 2030, with an additional 20 percent designated as climate stabilization areas.”
“What (Lujan Grisham) is really talking about is 50 percent. She is implementing the ‘Half-Earth agenda’,” Byfield said Wednesday after reading the executive order. “This is really concerning.”
Even though around 35.4 percent — or 27.5 million acres — of the State of New Mexico is federal land, and about another 30 percent is state controlled land, leaving only about 44 percent — or 33.9 million acres — of the the state’s 77.7 million acres as privately owned or deeded, Byfield said she anticipates state controlled agencies to target private landowners.
“I don’t know how they can do this without impacting private lands,” she said. “This is making New Mexico an administrative state.”
Some environmental groups praised the executive order Wednesday.
“The Santa Fe Conservation Trust is at work to implement the 30 x 30 vision in northern New Mexico to bring private landowners into the process,” said Santa Fe Conservation Trust executive director Sarah Noss.
“Audubon is supportive of the 30×30 campaign at the federal level and is excited about New Mexico’s commitment to complementing it at the state level,” said Judy Calman, New Mexico director of policy, Audubon Southwest.
“As the planet continues warming and we experience record droughts, it is clear we must act so there is something left for future generations. Gov. Lujan Grisham’s commitment to the 30×30 resolution is a positive first step in the right direction and will allow us to begin addressing the challenges in front of us collectively,” said executive director of New Mexico Wild Mark Allison.
“Reaching this goal will not only prevent biodiversity loss, it will also support New Mexico’s outdoor recreation economy, expand access to the outdoors for all New Mexicans, and boost our state’s efforts to address climate change,” said Andre Miller, western lands policy analyst, Western Resource Advocates.
“Our world is in a crisis. The loss of habitat is causing the extinction of numerous species of life. In addition this loss of habitat is contributing to climate change which threatens all life on our planet including humans. The goal of setting aside 30% of our land and waters by the year 2030 will help prevent this ecological disaster,” said Kent Salazar, chairman of the board, National Wildlife Federation.
Jackson said he is dismayed at the level of governmental overreach the governor has exhibited.
“If she lets anyone come on my private property I don’t want there, we should be able to come on hers, and it’s not that way,” Jackson said. “I just can’t imagine this. It’s so far out there.”