U.S. Senators Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), and Steve Daines (R-MT) led a group of 13 senators in pressing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to withdraw its proposed Public Lands Rule. The senators stressed the negative impact the proposal would have on western states as the rule would undermine the multiple use requirements established by Congress and lock away taxpayer-owned lands from activities that are essential to local economies, including grazing, energy development and tourism.
At the same time, the Senators pushed back on BLM’s attempt to limit public input on the proposal and pressed the agency to hold in-person public meetings in every western state to ensure constituents have adequate opportunity to provide feedback on the rule.
“The proposal creates a framework for “conservation leases” without authorization from Congress. The proposal specifically notes that ‘BLM shall not authorize any other uses of the leased land’ that it determines are ‘inconsistent’ with this new framework, thereby interrupting the successful balance of other responsible uses from hunting and grazing, to energy development and recreation,” the senators wrote.
“This new leasing regime opens the door for a new, noncompetitive process designed to lock away parcels of land, with no limits to size, for a period of 10 or more years. It’s clear that anti-grazing and anti-development organizations would abuse this tool to attempt to halt ranching and block access to our nation’s abundant energy reserves located on public lands.
“BLM’s proposed Public Lands Rule is an effort to empower special interests that have long opposed BLM’s statutory mandate by prioritizing non-development over the principles of multiple use and sustained yield. Taking large parcels of land out of BLM’s well-established multiple use mandate would cause significant harm to many western states and negatively impact the livelihoods of ranchers, energy producers, and many others that depend on access to federal lands. As such, the proposal should be withdrawn immediately.”
In addition to Mullin, Hoeven, and Daines, the letter is signed by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Senators James Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.).