Meet the 30×30 Disinformation Brigade

Apr 20, 2022

Days ahead of a “Stop 30×30 Summit” in Nebraska, the Center for Western Priorities is exposing the anti-public lands extremists behind an organized disinformation campaign against American conservation efforts.

At the center of the “30×30 Disinfo Brigade” is the American Stewards of Liberty, a Texas anti-conservation group with its roots in the “Sagebrush Rebellion” of the 1980s.

“It can be tempting to dismiss the anti-30×30 effort as an extremist sideshow,” said Aaron Weiss, deputy director at the Center for Western Priorities and author of the report. “But our research reveals how American Stewards of Liberty acts as a bridge between fringe anti-government groups and mainstream political operatives who are working for big oil companies that try to keep an arms’ length from insurrection supporters and conspiracy theorists like this.”

While American Stewards claims to stand for “private property rights, defending the use of our land, and restoring local control,” CWP’s research reveals the organization primarily exists as a financial pass-through for its only employees, Margaret and Daniel Byfield. The report highlights American Stewards’ actual mission to restrict the rights of private property owners, particularly those who wish to protect family farms through the use of voluntary conservation easements.

The organized disinformation network also includes Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar, Former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, Utah State Representative Ken Ivory, and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, who is hosting the Nebraska event on Earth Day.

A warning for Nebraskans

Kyle Herrig of the watchdog group Accountable.US, who grew up in Nebraska, also warned the state to not fall for American Stewards’ lies.

“Sadly, there is a well-documented history of grifters suckering local governments that can least afford it out of hundreds of thousands of tax dollars in the name of fighting conservation,” Herrig wrote in the Lincoln Journal Star. “Some of these individuals will be on hand for the American Stewards summit. Utah State Rep. Ken Ivory spent years going county to county attempting to secure taxpayer money for his anti-conservation organization. Now he’s coming to Lincoln as a featured speaker thanks to an invite from American Stewards.”

Quick hits

Coalition of current and former NPS employees encourage Biden to invoke the Antiquities Act, establish six new national monuments

HuffPost | E&E News

Biden restores climate safeguards under bedrock conservation law

Washington Post | E&E News

Groups push Congress to pass climate package before Memorial Day

Washington Post

Resuming oil leases, raising royalty rates, not enough to end legal challenges

Bloomberg Law | Boise State Public Radio | The Hill

Biden’s ethanol order sparks worries about pollution

The Hill

Suggested replacement names pouring in for geographic features with Indigenous slur

Salt Lake Tribune | KUOW

Two wildfires burning structures, forcing evacuations in Arizona

AZ Family | Fox 10 | KPNX

Power companies admit carbon capture from coal plants is too expensive, not feasible


Quote of the day

”As a group, we collectively represent over 40,000 years of experience managing and protecting America’s most precious and important natural and cultural resources…. Now, through the use of the Antiquities Act, you can continue to build an inclusive and resilient conservation legacy that reflects the diversity of our natural heritage and permanently protects our lands and waters.”

—The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, in a letter to President Biden

Picture this

electronic gas price sign showing price per kilowatt hour of electricity and price per gallon of gas
Spotted in Denver. Talk about a sea change moment.

(featured image: Center for Western Priorities)