By Steve Kiggins |

The Bureau of Land Management scheduled five public meetings this week to gather feedback on major proposed changes to its stewardship of multiple-use lands across the western United States — including 12 million acres in Idaho.

None of those meetings will be in Idaho, and the state’s congressional delegation is asking for one.

In a letter to BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning, Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo and Reps. Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher questioned the choice of meeting locations “geographically concentrated away from many of BLM’s constituents” and pushed the bureau to “face the public” rather than host virtual meetings after President Joe Biden signed a bill last month to end the “COVID emergency.”

The first meeting, scheduled for Monday, and the last, on June 5, will be held virtually. In-person meetings are scheduled for May 25 in Denver; May 30 in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and June 1 in Reno.

“Idaho has twelve million acres of BLM managed land, and this rule will significantly impact how Idahoans interact with those public lands,” the legislators wrote in their letter. “By categorizing conservation as a use, rather than an outcome, this rule will effectively ensure the uses Idahoans have traditionally enjoyed on our public lands will be placed in competition with conservation, rather than in harmony. This action is in direct conflict with the congressional mandate to manage public lands for multiple use.”

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