Garfield County commissioners support Boebert efforts around energy jobs, infrastructure, 30×30 opposition
Garfield County commissioners are offering their unanimous support for two pieces of legislation and a petition for a hearing on a third being put forth by Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo.
The Board of County Commissioners on Monday signed letters of support for Boebert’s bill seeking to halt President Joe Biden’s 30×30 climate action plan.
Called the “30×30 Termination Act,” and referring to the Biden plan as a “land grab,” the Rifle Republican and freshman 3rd Congressional District representative is trying to build support in the House to stop the effort.
In addition, commissioners on Monday also agreed to sign letters in support of Boebert’s alternative American Infrastructure Modernization (AIM) Act, and a discharge petition to move her Protecting American Energy Jobs Act to the House floor.
Commissioner Mike Samson of Rifle said he recently met with ranchers and other landowners as part of a visit to the Cortez area, where he said there is significant concern over the 30×30 plan.
“They’re very concerned that this could put into wilderness 30% of the land,” Samson said. “This just would wreak terrible havoc on the western United States.”
The plan, put forth by the Biden administration earlier this year, establishes a goal to conserve 30% of the nation’s land and water by the year 2030. It’s part of a broader effort to rein in resource extraction and other land and water uses that emit greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change.
County commissioners said they agree with Boebert’s “land grab” assessment; at least until there’s more clarity about what the president means by land and water conservation, Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said.
“Nobody has addressed the definition of what conservation is,” he said, reiterating that 62% of the land in Garfield County is already controlled by the federal government as public land through the Bureau of Land Management or U.S. Forest Service.
The commissioners have already passed their own resolution in opposition to the 30×30 plan. Commission Chairman John Martin said the plan impacts private as well as public lands, with its push for more conservation easements.
“The third party holder on those conservation easements is the federal government,” he said.
Supporters of the 30×30 plan have said it’s a bold step in the global effort to address climate change, and that the 30% goal could include a variety of conservation measures, not just the most-restrictive wilderness protections.
Meanwhile, Boebert’s proposed AIM Act has been offered up in response to the Biden administration’s more than $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, which focuses on rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure.
However, Boebert has been critical of the plan’s broad definition of infrastructure and its corporate tax funding structure. She says it does little to modernize the nation’s infrastructure, such as surface transportation, airports and shipping ports.
Her proposal would repurpose up to $650 billion in unallocated COVID stimulus funds for state-level grants to pay for infrastructure projects across the country.
“I strongly support this bill, and I think this can be done without new tax increases,” Jankovsky said. “It’s a much cleaner bill, and it gets right to the purpose of infrastructure improvements.”
Lastly, the commissioners agreed to support a “discharge petition” to have the Protecting American Energy Jobs Act put forth by Boebert and U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, formally considered by the House.
The measure would nullify a series of Biden executive orders upon taking office in January that Boebert has referred to as “job killers.” They included the permit revocation for the Keystone XL Pipeline and moratoriums on energy leasing on public lands.
“This is overreach that prevents American energy production, and shuts down development of our natural resources,” Samson said.
Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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