Western Lawmakers Unveil Alternative to 30×30 Initiative

by Colter Brown

U.S. Senator Steve Daines, chair of the Senate Western Caucus, today unveiled a blueprint for responsible, effective conservation supporting Montana and the West. Daines’ “Western Conservation Principles” serves as an alternative to the Biden administration’s “30 by 30 initiative” and America the Beautiful report.

“Conservation is part of our Montana way of life—we know how to be good stewards of our lands,” Daines said. “I believe it’s a conservative principle to conserve. That’s why I’m pushing a new ‘Western Conservation Principles’ initiative that uses science-based, time-tested, locally-driven practices to bring about meaningful conservation outcomes, unlike President Biden’s vague 30×30 initiative.”

The document describing the principles states that “The Senate and Congressional Western Caucuses are concerned with the initiative to place 30% of our lands and waters in conservation status – not because we oppose conservation, but
because our western heritage and conservation principles can and should be applied to 100% of our public lands and waters. We propose a holistic approach to conservation based on restoring healthy and resilient landscapes versus yet-to-be defined land statuses.”

“Oftentimes, it is action – rather than inaction and “protection” status – that will achieve conservation outcomes,” the proposal says. “Our landscapes are suffering from stalled agency decisions and/or lack of proactive efforts. A ten-year initiative to conserve and restore our public lands needs to address shortfalls in specific focal areas.”

The areas outlined included: forest health, invasive species, wild horses & burros, superfund sites, visitation, abandoned mine and orphan well reclamation, checkerboard and landlocked management, biodiversity and species recovery, and promoting and protecting water infrastructure.

The principles describe utilization of a full range of tools to achieve the desired outcomes. Those tools include: shared stewardship, leveraging public-private partnerships, reporting and monitoring, streamlining processes, litigation reform and auditing existing programs.

Daines released the “Western Conservation Principles” with Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Western Caucus, and Senate and House colleagues.

Watch a video announcement HERE.

Read the “Western Conservation Principles” HERE.

The Senate and Congressional Western Caucus members who signed the document include Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Mike Crapo (R-ID), John Hoeven (R-ND), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Congressmen Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) and Liz Cheney (R-WY).

“Western Conservation Principles” has garnered endorsements from the following groups: American Exploration and Mining Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Forest Research Council, American Sheep Industry, Family Farm Alliance, National Association of Counties, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Endangered Species Act Reform Coalition, National Mining Association, National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association, Public Lands Council, Western Energy Alliance.



Sen. Steve Daines

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