Cantwell Calls for Keeping BLM Planning 2.0 Rule Ahead of Senate Vote to Dismantle It

Rule Was Designed to Increase Public Participation, Transparency and Collaboration

March 7, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) called for keeping the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Planning 2.0 Rule, which was designed to increase public participation, transparency and collaboration in decisions involving public lands.

When it comes to public lands, we want transparency, we want sunshine, we want a bottom-up approach when it comes to land management—and we certainly want collaboration,” Sen. Cantwell said.

Published last December, the BLM issued its “BLM 2.0” rule to update a planning process put in place in 1983. “I guarantee you that in those 30 years, we could come up with a better process for [receiving] input for our constituents on important land use issues,” Sen. Cantwell said.

Sen. Cantwell continued, “Our public lands must not be territories owned and operated for the sole benefit of the oil, gas and mining industries.” Many conservation and sportsmens groups oppose the resolution to reverse the rule, including the Outdoor Industry Association, the National Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, The Nature Conservancy, The Wilderness Society and the National Parks Conservation Association.

President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets, which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.” “Ensuring that we are increasing the value of our public lands is the [objective] of this planning rule that the Bureau of Land Management put out,” Sen. Cantwell said.

Sen. Cantwell explained what the rule does: “This is not a rule that regulates any specific use on public land. It does not restrict any particular activity. It updates the current law and says it is better to have input from local officials so they can update [land use plans] … earlier.”

The rule lays out the process the BLM should follow in developing the 160 land use and resource management plans the agency uses, as it manages more than 245 million acres of federal land across the nation. And the rule continues to recognize the roles of state, local and tribal governments as cooperating agencies; the rule does nothing to change this principle established in the underlying law.
As early as today, the Senate will vote to repeal the rule using the Congressional Review Act, which not only repeals this rule but also prevents “substantially similar” rules from being published on this issue.

Sen. Cantwell urges a “no” vote on the resolution to reverse the rule, H.J. Res. 44.