BLM getting gutted by congress - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 02-07-2017   #1
 
Ridgewood, New Jersey
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BLM getting gutted by congress

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congress (republicans ) have introduced two resolutions getting voted on THIS WEEK!. They are SJ Res 15 and HJ Res 44. These two "bills" would gut the BLM's and public's imput in having a transparent process in designating lands, rivers, water shed, all lands/rivers we enjoy. These "bills" would get rid of that process. CALL/EMAIL your reps and senators to vote against these. Time to unite and save what we all love to visit, see, float on, hike over.
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Old 02-07-2017   #2
 
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Here's how to get your congressional representative's number.
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Old 02-07-2017   #3
 
Denver, Colorado
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So H.J. Res 44 is disapproving the transparency and public input that was made a federal regulation in December of 2016? So it's going back to the way that it's been since 1976?

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Bureau of Land Management of the Department of the Interior relating to “Resource Management Planning” (published at 81 Fed. Reg. 89580 (December 12, 2016)), and such rule shall have no force or effect.

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-201...2016-28724.htm

I couldn't find anything relating to the BLM under S.J. Res 15.

Not arguing just looking for clarification or an explanation from someone much smarter than I am.
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Old 02-07-2017   #4
 
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So the rule is summarized in 81 Fed. Reg. 89580 as:

Quote:
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is amending its
regulations that establish the procedures used to prepare, revise, or amend land use plans pursuant to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). The final rule affirms the important role of other Federal agencies, State and local governments, Indian tribes, and the public during the planning process and enhances opportunities for public involvement and transparency during the preparation of resource management plans. The final rule will enable the BLM to more readily address resource issues at a variety of scales, such as wildfire, wildlife habitat, appropriate development, or the demand for renewable and non-renewable energy sources, and to respond more effectively to change. The final rule emphasizes the role of using high quality information, including the best available scientific information, in the planning process; and the importance of evaluating the resource, environmental, ecological, social, and economic conditions at the onset of planning. Finally, the final rule makes revisions to clarify existing text and to improve the readability of the planning regulations.
Here's where the rule was published in the Federal Register.

I'm not exactly sure of the effect on the current public process.
What this legislation would do is to negate the rule and thus pare back the process by which the BLM solicits public input for resource and land management plans (these are often accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement examining the consequences for the land in question and the population living there or using it for recreation). The rule also promotes using "the best available scientific information in the planning process." Conservation and citizens groups (like American Whitewater) routinely use the public input process to comment on BLM land management actions. As an example, many of us provided public comments on how we'd like to see the Upper Colorado River managed a few years ago when the Resource Management Plan for the Upper C was being updated. This rule doesn't say anything about not being able to use the resources, doesn't limit drilling or mining. It just says we should think about how we do those things, make the process transparent, and that the public should have a say in it.

So basically, if you want transparency in how the government manages our lands, the ability to provide input in the decision process, and for the managing agencies to use the best science when developing their plans, these bills are a bad thing.

Here's the Senate bill (FYI - Colorado's Cory Gardner is a sponsor)

Here's the House Bill, virtually the same as the Senate. (FYI - Colorado's Scott Tipton is a sponsor)

-AH
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Old 02-07-2017   #5
 
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Essentially HJ res 44 would eliminate the new BLM planning process 2.0 which mandates a much higher level of public input when formulating management plans. It's not an extreme setback, but it will make it much more difficult again for the everyday citizen to have their voice heard when deciding how to manage their local public lands... and will have waisted all the time and effort put into developing the updated planning process.
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Old 02-07-2017   #6
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From what I could see of the final rule published in the Federal register, this was an improvement that is being gotten rid of. I can not say for 100% though, as I did not make it through all 91 pages the BLM has posted in the register.
Unless there is something in those 91 pages that's bad, scrapping it seems to be the wrong thing to do. I kept randomly skimming, and nothing raised a red flag for me. If anyone finds something, I would love to know.
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Old 02-07-2017   #7
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Can't help but wonder if the reason some lawmakers are trying to get rid of it, is that they DON'T want the public to know or interfere, when a particular stakeholder is pushing for there own interests. A stakeholder that also makes mega Campaign contributions.
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Old 02-07-2017   #8
 
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So there is not going to be anyone to stop you, so do what you want. But maybe pack a gun.
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Old 02-07-2017   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyM View Post
So there is not going to be anyone to stop you, so do what you want. But maybe pack a gun.
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Old 02-07-2017   #10
 
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The description on page 89581 of a new "regulatory requirement" that initiates earlier consultation with tribes makes me wonder if these states are trying to avoid expanded tribal advocacy like we saw for Bears Ears. Tribes have historically been treated tangentially with management of non-tribal BLM land and we see that slowly changing. There are definitely proposals that benefit from cumbersome hurdles to diverse stakeholder involvement.

Seems like these joint resolutions aren't draconian but do seem to reverse efforts to invite more stakeholders and information earlier in the process. Not shocking but disappointing.
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