The Biden administration has gotten off to a quick start with all the presidential orders President Joe Biden has produced in the first 30 days. This outfit worries me when it comes to the public lands. With a stroke of a pen, the oil and gas business is shut down and it’s doubtful they will reopen it anytime soon; the XL pipeline suffered the same presidential whim.
The distain this administration has towards the hydrocarbon industry isn’t realistic. Moving to a zero-emissions energy grid is a noble thought but just not realistic. This last big storm and deep freeze experienced in the southern part of the country illustrates the flaws of solar and wind generation. Texas has suffered tremendous damage to their power grid. Accuweather claims the economy has suffered a $50 billion loss because of the weather.
Texas has a lot of wind farms and they’re tough on the landscape, but they iced up last week and couldn’t generate electricity. Rolling blackouts occurred and folks were without any power for days, unless they had a gas generator. Folks in the big cities were freezing and losing their lives. It’s fine to reduce our dependence on oil and gas but it is not realistic.
It looks like the Biden administration has bought in to a new “30 by 30” conservation plan that has been developing through environmental organizations for a couple years. The plan is to conserve 30 percent of the land resources and 30 percent of our waters by 2030 through administrative actions, which means more presidential orders.
When the government starts talking about conservation as the new Biden administration is already doing, it’s time to get nervous. First, I think we all need to start off with a definition of conservation that all stakeholders can agree on. Webster’s Dictionary says it is a “careful preservation and protection of something: planned management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.” These environmental groups that came up with the 30 by 30 plan want to continue and conserve 50 percent of the planet by 2050, which comes from the United Nations’ international convention on biodiversity. I don’t trust anything the UN does. But we all must agree on one definition of conservation.
It’s pretty clear that the Biden administration wants to tackle climate change quickly. Every decision they will make will evolve around climate change. They have embraced the ideology of the Green New Deal, which only the political elite around the world are embracing.
When the government starts talking about conservation, they are talking about locking it up for little economic benefit. I think we may find out who really owns the public lands. The federal government will step in and regulate it even more and will move to locking up all the resources even though most are renewable resources, like grass and trees, which is grazing and timber.
This is where the cattle industry needs to act and tell our story about upcycling grass into nutritious beef. And keeping fine fuels down to controllable levels to minimize wildfire. They are going to fight us on methane, which environmental groups continue to use the UN’s bogus figure that the cattle industry contributes 17 percent of greenhouse gases. The USDA says the cattle industry’s real contribution to greenhouse gas is only 3 percent. We must defend ourselves. I don’t think the Biden administration is patient on climate change and really doesn’t want to collaborate much. They want to get it done now. Just remember the oil and gas industry, one stroke of a pen.
Our friends at the Center for Biological Diversity have come up with a plan to spend $100 billion to create 500 new national parks, wildlife refuges and marine sanctuaries to reach the 30 by 30 goal.
Other groups such as the Central Colorado Conservancy are looking at a new way to conserve sensitive land by utilizing conservation leases with private landowners instead of the permanent conservation easement, which turns off a lot of landowners. They say this “try before you buy” concept works well.
Public lands will be perhaps the easiest rout for the agencies to take. President Barack Obama used the Antiquities Act to lock up millions of acres in southern Utah and it appears the
Biden administration intends on undoing President Donald Trump’s efforts to reduce the Bears Ears National Monument. So, get ready, we’re going to have issues to deal with soon. — PETE CROW