Gov. Pete Ricketts joined 14 other governors on Wednesday in submitting a letter to President Joe Biden opposing his executive order pledging to put the United States on the path to protecting at least 30% of its land and 30% of its ocean waters by 2030 to combat climate change.
Biden committed to that conservation goal in January.
"Nowhere in the laws of our nation is the authority delegated by Congress to the president or executive agencies to unilaterally change the policies governing land use in America," the governors wrote.
Pursuing such a plan would violate property rights and damage the economy, they stated.
The governors said it is the prerogative of states to manage their own lands and waters free from federal interference.
"It is ... our responsibility to ensure that certain federal lands, and all state lands, are being productively used by our citizens to provide the food, fiber, energy and minerals our nation needs for a robust economy and our national defense," the governors wrote the president.
All 15 governors who signed the letter to the Democratic president are Republicans.