Following a previous vote by the House, the Senate moved on March 7 to roll back the Bureau of Land Management Planning 2.0 initiative, undoing years of work to bring the agency’s planning into the 21st century, involve the public more and better balance the uses of our public lands.
The Senate used the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to undo recently approved rules and bars approval of new rules that are substantially the same. That means the BLM will be stuck with a planning process that hasn’t had a major overhaul in more than three decades even while demands and conditions on the landscape have dramatically changed.
Kate Zimmerman, the National Wildlife Federation’s public lands policy director, said:
“Using the CRA to roll back the BLM Planning 2.0 rule couldn’t be happening at a worse time for wildlife. The finalized rule modernized the process by making it more accessible and open to the public. The rule also permitted the BLM to take a big-picture look at the landscape so the impacts of development and other activities on waterways, wildlife migration routes as well as hunting and fishing opportunities could be more carefully considered.
“The senators’ vote against the BLM’s new planning rule is a vote against giving their constituents more say in how their public lands are managed. It’s also a vote against providing the BLM better tools to manage our public lands for the benefit of all Americans – hunters, anglers, bikers, wildlife watchers, ranchers, loggers and oil and gas operators” added Zimmerman. “Local elected officials, landowners and sportsmen have welcomed a more public process in communities where the BLM has used the Planning 2.0 principles to revise management plans.
“Now, the BLM and the public must revert to an outdated process that doesn’t adequately address the growing demands on our public lands or include provisions that aimed to address conflicts earlier and with more transparency.”
Read a letter by 21 National Wildlife Federation affiliates in support of BLM Planning 2.0.
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