President Biden issued Executive Order 14008 on January 27, 2021, “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad” (Order). Section 216 of that Order focuses on conserving the nation’s land and water resources with the goal of conserving at least 30 percent of land and water by 2030 and is commonly referred to as the “30×30 Initiative.” On May 6, 2021, the Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful Report (Report) was released outlining initial efforts, goals, concerns, and barriers to implementing the Order.
Utah currently has a substantial amount of its total land mass in a conservation or preservation status. Approximately 23% of the state, 12,628,600 acres, receives the highest level of protection available (e.g., national parks, wilderness, national monuments, etc.). Another 48% of Utah, 25,949,790 acres, is public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.
Governor Spencer Cox sent a letter to President Biden on November 16, 2021, expressing the State’s willingness to work with the federal government through strategic coordination. Furthermore, on February 17, 2022, Governor Spencer Cox signed S.C.R. 2, a “Concurrent Resolution Highlighting Utah’s Willingness to Cooperate with the Federal Partners for Efficient and Sustainable Management of Public Lands.”