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Jerad Reimers from Congressman Adrian Smith’s office spoke with the Small Business Policy Council in April, providing a few updates on recent legislation.

Clarity on the congressman’s “30 by 30” stance was provided. The “30 by 30” initiative was introduced by the Biden administration and signed as an executive order shortly after Biden took office. The “30 by 30” initiative has created additional guidelines for the federal government to have 30% control of the American sea bed and 30% control of American land mass by 2030. Currently, the federal government owns about 25-30% of physical land mass. This might not seem like a large change, however, Reimers revealed that the federal government will not just own the 30% of American sea bed and 30% of American land mass. The federal government will turn it into conservation management.

The government is attempting to either change their land management tactics and/or invest in additional land mass to about the size of Texas twice over. Budget wise, that means several trillion dollars will be exclusively invested in land management and/or purchasing land. This could lead to potential imminent domain usage, but is likely for the purposes of the Bureau of Land Management, the Department of Interiors, or the National Parks to take control of. The budgets of those departments reveal the projects and plans they currently have are roughly 20-30 years behind in terms of maintenance, management, and overall growth. Last year, Congress celebrated the full funding of those departments. However, what was not mentioned last year were the numbers which Congress had fully funded were for budgets that were appropriate during the Jimmy Carter administration. While it was certainly a step in the right direction, for the funding of those departments to occur, its approval and prioritization were woefully out of pace with the needs of the potential follow-through of the “30 by 30” plans.

On a similar note, the Heritage Region, in the south central part of the state, has plans to receive help from the Willa Cather Foundation. Governor Pete Ricketts administration expressed not being supportive last week. This is largely because Governor Ricketts has very strong feelings that the state and Nebraskans are perfectly capable of promoting themselves for tourism purposes. Congressman Smith acknowledged that his concern is not so much on the ability of Nebraskans to promote themselves, or whether or not the federal government would be a hindrance to promotional purposes. But instead, his concerns lie within the federal regulations and federal oversight as the government is not great at overseeing local programs and improving such. Nebraskans have also proven that there is no additional need for it. For that reason, the Congressman is not as open to voting against the program, unlike Governor Ricketts. Congressman Smith plans to gather more information and opinions before choosing to support or oppose it.

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