Biden’s “America the Beautiful” Vision Ignores Feds’ Dreadful Record, by James Bovard

A review of federal farm policies reveals that stewardship of the land is way down the list of government priorities. From James Bovard at

Will Biden’s “America the Beautiful” program save America’s environment? On January 27, President Joe Biden issued an executive order proclaiming “the goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.” That target would require almost tripling the amount of land under government restrictions – an area twice the size of the state of Texas. Last week, the Biden administration released a 22-page “America the Beautiful” vision statement short on details but overflowing with bromides including the following gem: “The road to a full recovery remains steep, but President Biden is determined to lead America to new heights.”

Biden has not yet specified which provision of the Constitution entitles the president to proclaim national land use goals. Regardless, he is reaping applause for pledging to fight climate change, protect biodiversity, expand parkland, and other courageous positions. Biden is launching the initiative regardless of the feds’ own dreadful environmental record. As law professor Jonathan Turley observed, “the government remains the nation’s premiere environmental felon.”

But everything will be different under Biden, right? His plan was jointly developed by the Commerce, Interior, and Agriculture Departments. Gina McCarthy, Biden’s senior climate change advisor, proclaimed, “This is the very first national conservation goal we have ever set as a country.” However, much of the plan resembles what the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has claimed to be achieving for almost a century.

Federal agricultural policy offers stark lessons on the folly of trusting politicians with the environment. Since Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, farm policymakers have routinely portrayed the private sector as inherently destructive to the environment. Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace declared in 1934: “Probably the most damaging indictment that can be made of the capitalistic system is the way in which its emphasis on unfettered individualism results in exploitation of natural resources.”

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