On April 3, 2023, a proposed rule change by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was published in the Federal Register. If implemented, the deceptively titled “Strengthening the Stewardship of America’s Public Lands” rule could effectively eliminate traditional mandated multiple uses of BLM-managed lands by “prioritizing conservation and ecosystem resiliency.”
Former BLM director Neil Kornze wrote:
“FLPMA defines our mission as one of multiple use and sustained yield. This means thoughtful development in the right places to drive economic opportunities for local communities. It also means protecting natural, cultural, and historical resources that are simply too special to develop. And above all, it means working with a changing nation to make decisions that are balanced and forward-looking. I am incredibly proud of the BLM and what this team accomplishes each day. Our responsibilities are wide-ranging. In addition to supporting the nation’s need for energy, minerals, timber, and grazing lands, we offer world-class recreational opportunities to millions of Americans who are passionate about hunting, fishing, hiking, paddling, and skiing.”
The new proposed rule is in direct opposition to the sustained yield mandate of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976, which established that the BLM’s multiple-use lands would serve present and future generations. The term “sustained yield” is officially defined as “achievement and maintenance in perpetuity of a high-level annual or regular periodic output of the various renewable resources of the public lands consistent with multiple use.”
Environmental extremists have long sought to end productive uses of federally managed lands, and when you consider the current administration’s radical environmental agenda, combined with who is leading the BLM, the puzzle really comes together.
Kaitlynn Glover, NCBA Executive Director of Natural Resources, and PLC weighed in:
“Ranchers have a reasonable expectation of transparency and predictability with dealing with the BLM, and this proposed rule falls short on both accounts,”
“The covert manner in which the rule was developed and announced has left permittees feeling like the rule is either a capitulation to the extremist environmental groups who want to eradicate grazing from the landscape or a concerted effort to develop rules that preclude ranchers’ input.”
Western Communities and Economies At Risk
The mandated multiple uses of BLM-managed lands include all forms of outdoor recreation as well as the essential utilization of natural resources through mining, logging, and livestock grazing. These practices are the foundations of numerous rural Western economies and are essential to our nation’s energy and food security. The proposed rule would devastate countless Western economies and communities, economically and culturally.
University of Wyoming (UW) Professor Emeritus David Taylor was quoted in AgDaily as saying,
“Sixteen states in the West have significant amounts of federal grazing and would be affected by changes in that grazing use.”
UW completed an analysis of the economic impact of grazing federal lands in Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon. In those three states alone, there are 5,389 federal grazing permits that encompass 5.6 million animal unit months (AUMs) in 97 of 104 total counties.
The UW analysis found that the total annual direct economic impact for federal grazing-dependent ranches in the area was $652.1 million. Approximately 80 percent comes from cattle production, with the remaining 20 percent coming from hay sales. The secondary impacts are even more significant and include businesses supporting ranching, such as veterinarians and feed stores, totaling an annual economic impact of over $1.5 billion. This includes 10,000 employees and over $415 million in labor income.
“Simply put: a $1 decrease in direct ranch sales due to a decrease in federal grazing allotments would cause a total $3.01 in economic activity throughout the state, including a $2.01 decrease in secondary impacts,” stated an AgDaily article.
While these numbers are certainly significant, the irreversible damage to ranching heritage and culture the proposed rule would cause is simply incalculable.
New Language Opens Leases to Control by Environmental Extremist Groups
One of the ways the rule would “prioritize conservation” is to allow individuals or groups to lease BLM lands to prevent the use of that land’s natural resources. As Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) stated in a hearing with Secretary of the Department of the Interior, Deb Haaland, the proposed rule would “make non-use a use.” For example, it could pit the owners of grazing rights directly against well-funded environmental extremist groups in competition for the management of parcels of land.
According to the Federal Register,
“The proposed rule would apply land health standards to all BLM-managed public lands and uses, clarify that conservation is a ‘‘use’’ within FLPMA’s multiple-use framework, and revise existing regulations to better meet FLPMA’s requirement that the BLM prioritize designating and protecting Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs)”
“One of the principal tools the BLM has available to manage public lands for that type of conservation use is the designation of ACECs. ACECs are areas where special management attention is needed to protect important historic, cultural, and scenic values, fish, or wildlife resources, or other natural systems or processes, or to protect human life and safety from natural hazards.”
Those familiar with the standard operating procedure of federal land management agencies will immediately see that the designation of ACECs would most likely be weaponized in order to stop land uses that don’t fit the environmental extremist agenda.
Proposed New Rule is Aligned with the 30 by 30 Agenda
In fact, the proposed rule is directly aligned with the Biden administration’s 30X30 agenda, also known as America The Beautiful. The goal of 30 X 30 is to “conserve” 30% of America’s lands and waters by the year 2030, which is tied directly to the UN’s globalist campaign to assume complete control of American land, water, and natural resources.
Conservation and protection of unique resources have always been an integral part of FLMPA, so when reading the rule proposal, it becomes clear that the elimination of traditional uses of BLM-managed lands is the real goal.
Here are some examples:
“The proposed rule uses the term ‘‘conservation’’ in a broader sense, however, to encompass both protection and restoration actions. Thus, it is not limited to lands allocated to preservation, but applies to all BLM-managed public lands and programs.”
“The proposed rule would require the BLM to plan for and consider conservation as a use on par with other uses under FLPMA’s multiple-use framework and identify the practices that ensure conservation actions are effective in building resilient public lands.”
“Public lands are increasingly degraded and fragmented. Increased disturbances such as invasive species, drought, and wildfire, and increased habitat fragmentation are all impacting the health and resilience of public lands and making it more challenging to support multiple use and the sustained yield of renewable resources. Climate change is creating new risks and exacerbating existing vulnerabilities.”
The so-called conservation leases would sharply curtail all types of BLM land use, including logging and grazing. Ironically, the fuel load management that those practices provide would also be curtailed, leading to longer, more catastrophic wildfires.
This helps illustrate that the real motive is not the health of the land, but rather heavy-handed control of those lands in direct opposition to the multiple uses clearly outlined in FLPMA .
BLM Head is A Known Environmental Extremist
The BLM is currently headed by a known environmental extremist, Tracy Stone-Manning. She has historically been an active opponent of productive uses of federally managed lands, and she and her husband have both expressed their blatantly anti-human beliefs. It’s no surprise that activities that support and enrich human existence, such as the economic and recreational use of federally managed lands, would be in her proverbial crosshairs.
Stone-Manning was a spokesperson for the eco-terrorist group, Earth First, and was part of a tree-spiking plot in the 1990s. In her thesis from the University of Montana, Stone-Manning wrote: “The origin of our abuses is us. If there were fewer of us, we would have less impact... we must consume less, and more importantly, we must breed fewer consuming humans.” Stone-Manning also produced 8 ads to go along with her thesis, one of which referred to children as “environmental hazards.”
BLM Head is Married to Anti-Agriculture Author
Tracy Stone-Manning's husband, Richard Manning, wrote a book titled “Against the Grain: How Agriculture Has Hijacked Civilization,” in which he called for an end to large-scale modern agriculture.
He once stated,
“If the human endeavor takes as its primary reason for being the feeding of however many people issue from senseless acts of reproduction, then the human endeavor is pointless.”
Land Use is Already Being Threatened – Ahead of New Proposed Rule
We are already seeing problems caused by limiting land use for “conservation,” as Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, has been blocking leases for gas and oil extraction and, ironically, mining for the minerals that are essential for so-called green energy.
In the previously mentioned hearing, Wyoming Senator John Barrasso stated that Haaland is “jeopardizing energy security and national security” by undermining even Biden’s energy goals.
Barrasso stated that due to Biden’s green energy mission, the demand for copper is expected to rise 300% by 2040, nickel by 1900%, and cobalt by 2100%. Haaland recently withdrew 225,000 acres in Minnesota from development for mining those exact minerals.
It is Up to You to Take Action – Comment, Sign Petition, Complete Survey
The BLM is accepting public comment on the proposed rule until June 20, 2023, or until 15 days after the last public meeting, which has not yet been announced. It is incredibly damning that the comment portal is not easily found and accessible, which certainly seems to indicate that the intent is to shove the proposed rule into practice without due process.
Comment to Federal Government
Submit your comments directly to the federal government HERE
From the Federal Register: “Please make your comments on the proposed rule as specific as possible, limit them to issues pertinent to the proposed rule, explain the reason for any changes you recommend, and include any supporting documentation. Where possible, your comments should reference the specific section or paragraph of the proposal that you are addressing.”
Sign Rural America in Action Petition HERE
Participate in Survey
Complete the short 7-question survey about how you use public lands HERE
Read about FLPMA HERE
The new proposed rule can be read its entirety HERE
Additional Articles and Commentary:
Northern AgNetwork HERE
Law Offices of Davis, Graham, and Stubbs HERE
Video Commentary by Sarah Falen of Budd-Falen Law Offices LLC HERE