BLM Introduces Conservation Rule

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a Conservation and Landscape Rule. The agency said the new rule will establish the policy for the BLM to build and maintain the resilience of ecosystems on public lands in three primary ways: protecting the most intact, functioning landscapes; restoring degraded habitat and ecosystems; and using science and data as the foundation for management decisions across all plans and programs.

The rule establishes a definition of “conservation” that encompasses both protection and restoration actions, recognizing that the BLM must protect intact natural landscapes and restore degraded landscapes to achieve ecosystem resilience. To support efforts to protect and restore public lands, the rule clarifies that conservation is a use on par with other uses of the public lands under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976’s multiple-use and sustained-yield mandate. A mining lobbyist said the rule will survive neither litigation nor the court of public opinion.

“The BLM’s Conservation and Landscape Health rule is illegal, unnecessary, and contrary to numerous policy goals of the Biden administration and Congress,” said American Exploration & Mining Association Executive Director Mark Compton. “Our risky reliance on imported minerals is a direct result of five decades of ignoring Congress’ clear directives that minerals should be mined from public lands to help satisfy the nation’s need for minerals.

“The Biden administration’s own goals of fighting climate change and reducing carbon emissions require more domestic mining – not less,” he said. “The rule significantly changes the way BLM manages the 245 million acres of public land it oversees, to the detriment of America’s mineral and energy independence goals and resource-dependent rural communities that produce the fiber, food, minerals, and energy America requires from its public lands. “Make no mistake, our members are strong supporters of conservation, not only for public lands but all of the country’s resources, and are ready to work with the BLM to further advance these goals,” he said. “However, this will not be accomplished by the flawed and illegal provisions in this rule.”

As featured in Womp 2024 Vol 05 -