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Blog

Our favorite stories about public lands and opportunities for you to get involved in protecting your outdoor experiences.

 

Protect BLM Lands from Congressional Assault

Louis Geltman

Photo credit: Hunter Day

Photo credit: Hunter Day

UPDATE 2/15: Last week, the House voted to pass H.J. Res. 44 and throw out BLM Planning 2.0. The bill now goes to the Senate (it's called S.J. Res. 15 there). As of today, there has been no action in the Senate to vote on S.J. Res. 15, and the Senate is out next week and many Senators will be back in their home districts.

The only way to stop this bill now is through the Senate. If Congress throws out BLM 2.0, it is making a strong statement that your voice does not need to be considered. This is a direct attack on our public lands and is part of the campaign to kill the public land system, one cut at a time.
 
Please call your Senators today. If you don't know your Senate office numbers directly, call (202)-224-3121 to be connected to your Senate offices (just tell them what state you're calling from). When you speak to your Senators, please tell them to protect BLM Planning 2.0 by voting "no" on S.J. Res. 15.


Right now, Congress is working to throw out a crucial regulation that modernizes how the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) conducts planning on our public lands. This bill threatens outdoor recreation on 245 million acres of our public lands, including iconic places like Westwater Canyon, Moab’s Porcupine Rim Trail, Oregon’s Sandy Ridge Trail System, and countless others.

In December, the BLM finalized its Planning 2.0 initiative—the regulation now under attack. Planning 2.0 opened up a whole new level of public participation, creating a more transparent process that gives lots of opportunities for the people who love public lands to shape how those lands are managed. It also does a much better job of recognizing the importance of recreation, including for local economies, and greatly improves the agency’s ability to handle data. Right now, some members of Congress are upset because they see that this new initiative could undercut the privileged position of extractive interests on public lands.

Right now, Congress is considering throwing out this rule in its entirety using a rarely-used law called the Congressional Review Act. The Congressional Review Act lets Congress overturn the decisions made by federal agencies within 60 days. Congress is currently using this law to roll back important environmental safeguards.

Land planning is important because it governs what uses are allowed and where they are allowed on our public lands. Planning is also the headwaters for new protective designations like Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers. BLM Planning 2.0 modernizes the process of developing Resource Management Plans for BLM lands in an analogous way to the improvements made in Forest Planning under the 2012 Planning Rule. In particular, Planning 2.0 directs planners to engage in a much broader data collection from the public and other users. This means that land management agencies can better understand where people go on our public lands, why they go there, and the experiences that are a part of what makes these places so special.

The vote to roll back BLM’s thoughtful and recreation-friendly new planning process could be on the floor of both the House and the Senate as early as the beginning of next week. The bill numbers are S.J. Res. 15 and H.J. Res. 44. Please use this link to reach out to your Senators and Congressperson and tell them to protect modern land management planning on public lands.

(We know this all sounds wonky, but this is SUPER important). If you want to read more, here is the letter our coalition sent to Congress.