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Cheney Proposes Killing BLM Planning Rule

The Bureau of Land Management

Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on whether to scrap a Bureau of Land Management plan, known as the BLM Planning 2.0, that was recently adopted under the Obama administration.

Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney introduced Resolution 44 that would eliminate the rule. Wyoming Wilderness Association community organizer Shaleas Harrison said she understands Cheney’s desire to reduce BLM rule making, but Planning 2.0 was intended to speed up BLM decision making and reduce red tape. She said it also expands how much local input was required by the BLM to make those decisions.

Harrison said, because Congress would kill the plan using the Congressional Review Act, it couldn't use any of the good parts of the plan in the future.

“Nothing in that rule can be re-instated in the next administration unless a new law by Congress is passed,” Harrison said. “So many of the good provisions of the planning rule such as having more comment time and having the public comment more often is not going to happen. And it really sets the BLM back decades.”

Harrison said Planning 2.0 is worth keeping because it would resolve many of the complaints by public land transfer advocates who want states to take over federal land management. She says the plan was years in the making with involvement from sportsmen and agriculture groups.

She said the BLM hasn't revised its planning methods since the 1980's and a lot has happened since then, including the discovery of several big game migration routes that need better protections. Harrison agreed that the BLM’s methods can be laborious and leave out local stakeholders, but BLM Planning 2.0 was intended to fix some of that.

“I’ve really dealt with the inefficiencies of the BLM and I’d like to see it resolved. And it was so close to happening. And it still could, if Congress doesn’t vote to approve Resolution 44,” said Harrison. 

Harrison said, the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote whether to abandon BLM Planning 2.0 Tuesday. After that, it moves to the Senate for further debate.

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture.
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