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County to draft resolution on
‘land grab’

Staff writer

After discussing it for three months, county commissioners unanimously voted Monday to have county counsel Brad Jantz draft a resolution against a federal initiative opponents call “a land grab.”

Whether the resolution will remain a resolution or become a policy statement to be sent to legislators was not decided.

The so-called 30x30 Program, a network of policies spread among numerous federal agencies, is supported by Conservation Corridor, Center for American Progress, the Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, Land Trust Alliance, and other organizations.

It is intended to conserve 30% of the nation’s land and waters by 2030. Signed by President Biden Jan. 20, 2021, the program laid out principles but few details.

Commissioner Kent Becker repeatedly has pushed for a resolution to ban it since he heard a talk about it at a right-wing Patriots for Liberty group.

On Monday, he complained that Jantz had not yet written a resolution.

Jantz, however, had cautionary words for the commission.

“Be a little careful on what you wish for and what you get,” Jantz said.

The 30x30 Program uses many different approaches, including conservation and recreation, he said.

Jantz said he had been in a lot of discussion on “what you do and what you don’t do.”

He predicted commissioners would get a lot of different opinions.

“Then my thought is, you get a lot of input,” he said.

As broad as the 30x30 Program is, he said, he questioned was whether commissioners knew more than just enough to be dangerous.

Zoning director Sharon Omstead said the county would not have jurisdiction to require smaller easements for high voltage transmission lines than the easements set out by 30x30.

“The county doesn’t really have the authority to regulate that,” Omstead said. “They are regulated at a higher level.”

Commission chairman Dave Mueller said he was stuck on whether to do a resolution or a policy statement.

Becker said 28 other counties had adopted resolutions. Marion County should draft something.

“My thought is that if we do something, that starts with planning and zoning … ,” Jantz said.

“No, no, no,” Omstead answered.

Becker said: “We would work toward a resolution that doesn’t put a burden on landowners.”

At previous meetings, landowners complained that a county ban on their participation in conservation efforts would be an undue restriction on their rights as landowners to decide what to do with their land.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said he’d like to come back to the topic in six months.

In other business, Monday, commissioners:

  • Heard an update about noxious weed responsibilities from transfer station and noxious weed director Josh Housman.
  • Had an executive session with Jantz regarding possible litigation.

Last modified July 3, 2024

 

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