Moffat County commissioners Donald Broom, Melody Villard and Tony Bohrer on Tuesday made official their opposition to President Joe Biden’s plan to conserve 30% of the nation’s land and water by 2030 as part of the new administration’s efforts to address climate change.
The Board of County Commissioners unanimously adopted Resolution No. 2021-23, opposing the land preservation goal.
In the resolution, it cited that many of Moffat County’s businesses and its residents are involved in, or otherwise depend on industries that utilize federal lands and their resources, including the forest products industry, livestock grazing, oil and gas exploration and production, coal mining, precious metal mining, and mineral development, recreational industries, hunting and other outdoor recreation; and .
Additionally, the resolution cites that the top ten taxpayers in the county make up 62% of Moffat County’s Assessed Value, and all of those top 10 taxpayers are directly dependent upon federal lands and/or the resources under the surface.
“The 30 x 30 program, if implemented, is likely to cause significant harm to the economy of Moffat County, and injure the county’s businesses and its citizens by depriving them of access to public lands and national forest system lands and preventing the productive use of these lands’ resources,” the resolution opposing the plan reads.
The target of the 30×30 plan is backed by scientists who argue that reaching the goal is critical both to fighting climate change, as well as protecting the estimated one million species at risk of going extinct.
Currently, the U.S. is conserving around 26 percent of its coastal waters, but only about 12 percent of its land in a largely natural state, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Summarizing the resolution to commissioners, Jeff Comstock of the Natural Resources Department stated that there’s frustrations for a lot of counties in the western part of the country, where 30% of lands are already conserved.
Moffat County already hosts 339,036 acres of Wilderness Study Areas and Lands with Wilderness Character. Moffat County hosts tens of thousands of acres of private perpetual conservation easements as well, and hosts over 150,000 acres of National Monument, 14,000 acres of US Fish and Wildlife Refuge, and tens of thousands of acres of State Wildlife Areas, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, and other conserved lands, according to the resolution.
“Sixty percent of our land is under federal or state management already in Moffat County,” Comstock said. “These are already longstanding positions in this county; it’s not new, they’re not new policies. This should be an easy opposition because it’s so consistent with what we’ve done historically here in Moffat County.”
Read More: Moffat County commissioners formally oppose Biden’s 30×30 climate crisis plan