WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman John Curtis (R-UT), alongside Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Congressman Russ Fulcher (R-ID), introduced legislation to halt the proposed Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public lands rule that undermines the agency’s approach to federal land management by upending decades of multiple-use administration. With more than 90% of BLM’s 245 million acres located in the West, the rule would have an outsized effect on Western states and their residents.
“The BLM’s proposed rule would undermine the livelihoods of Utah’s farmers, ranchers, recreation businesses, and more,” said Congressman Curtis. “In a state that has so much natural beauty to share, this rule attempts to lock up those precious lands that should be open and accessible to the public.”
“In the West, we know locking up lands with preservationist designations does not automatically guarantee healthy landscapes. In fact, the opposite is often the case,” said Chairman Newhouse. “Farmers and ranchers are the best stewards of the land, not bureaucrats in Washington who seek to hamper our land managers’ ability to conserve the land they rely on for their livelihoods. The BLM has time and again shown their aim is to drastically reduce, or even eliminate, grazing on public lands, and this proposed rule is the latest iteration of this effort. I am proud to introduce legislation to rescind it.”
“The Bureau of Land Management’s proposed rule ignores Congressional input as well as those of sportsmen and Tribes, whose access to certain federal lands could be restricted if the rule goes into effect,” Congressman Fulcher added. “BLM, under the Interior Department, should be prioritizing proper management of high-risk fire areas and leasing on federal lands so we can secure American energy independence. This rule only undermines these goals.”
BLM’s proposed rule subverts the Congressional “multiple-use” mandate – established by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act – that federal land and its resources must be utilized for various purposes to “best meet the needs of the people." By enacting a restrictive framework for ‘conservation leases,’ the rule threatens access to federal lands for other critical purposes such as grazing, mining, outdoor recreation, and energy development projects while giving conservation lease holders the power to prevent access to public lands.
Read the full bill text here.