On April 3, 2023, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would put conservation of U.S. managed lands on an equal footing with oil and gas development and other economic activities (the Proposed Rule). Stakeholders interested in development on federal lands should consider carefully the implications of BLM’s proposal.
According to the Proposed Rule, the proposed regulations would advance BLM’s mission under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) to manage public lands for multiple use and sustained yield by prioritizing the health and resilience of ecosystems across public lands. The Proposed Rule would apply the fundamentals of land health and related standards and guidelines to all BLM-managed public lands and uses. Under current BLM policy, application of land health standards is limited to grazing authorizations.
According to BLM, the agency is proposing to amend the existing regulations to better meet FLPMA’s requirement that BLM prioritize designating and protecting “areas of critical environmental concern.” Additionally, the Proposed Rule would make time-limited “conservation leases” available to entities seeking to restore public lands or provide mitigation for a particular action.
Comments on the Proposed Rule can be provided on or before June 20, 2023, or 15 days after the last public meeting, at www.regulations.gov.
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