Officials react to new public lands rule

By Wyoming Tribune Eagle staff Via Wyoming News Exchange
Posted 4/23/24

CHEYENNE — Wyoming elected officials, as well as various wilderness and conservation organizations, responded to the Biden administration’s finalization of a new rule allowing public …

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Officials react to new public lands rule


CHEYENNE — Wyoming elected officials, as well as various wilderness and conservation organizations, responded to the Biden administration’s finalization of a new rule allowing public lands to be leased for restoration in the same way that oil companies lease land for drilling.


Gov. Mark Gordon

“It appears that Wyoming’s comments — and those from our people who depend on public lands for their livelihoods — were completely overlooked. The Biden administration’s contorted interpretation of multiple use under the Federal Land Policy Management Act and the BLM’s authorities will completely upend economies across the West — including grazing, recreation, and energy.

“Wyoming takes immense pride in our wildlife and habitat management and expertise. With Wyoming’s voice, authorities, and management efforts, as well as the standard of multiple use disregarded, I wholeheartedly support Senator Barrasso’s efforts to withdraw this rule in the U.S. Senate.”


Wyoming Wilderness Association

“This landmark policy is a commitment to protect our most valuable lands, restore those in need, and make informed decisions that will benefit our ecosystems and communities alike.

“This new rule arrives at a crucial time as we face the escalating challenges of drought, wildfires, and declining land health — issues exacerbated by climate change. The Public Lands Rule introduces a consistent, comprehensive framework that prioritizes conservation while supporting the diverse uses of our lands. This balance ensures our communities remain prosperous and our natural habitats thrive.”


Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.

“The people of Wyoming depend on access to public lands for their livelihoods — including energy and mineral production, grazing, and recreation. With this rule, President Biden is allowing federal bureaucrats to destroy our way of life. Senator John Hoeven and I will introduce a Congressional Review Act resolution to repeal this outrageous rule.”


Gwen Lachelt, executive director

of the Western Leaders Network

“Public lands are central to the economies and health of our western communities. We commend Interior Secretary Debra Haaland and BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning for championing a rule that facilitates energy transition and prioritizes communities disproportionately impacted by our warming climate. This historic rule helps achieve the BLM’s mandate to balance competing uses by putting conservation on a level playing field with extractive industries like mining and drilling. Local, tribal and state elected officials across the Interior West stand ready to collaborate with the BLM to implement the rule in a way that prioritizes tribal consultation and partnerships, builds climate resilience, and works toward just transition.”


Marcia Argust, director of the

Pew Charitable Trusts’ U.S. conservation project

“The Conservation and Landscape Health Rule is a much-needed update to how the Bureau of Land Management manages important watersheds, wildlife habitat, and cultural resources. The new rule will benefit ecosystem health and the communities that depend on these landscapes for their livelihood. The final rule does not abandon uses such as energy development, timber harvesting, or mining, but instead creates a more level playing field where conservation of our nation’s natural resources is actually in the game.”


Danielle Murray, Conservation Lands Foundation,

public lands advisor

“BLM lands are among the nation’s most iconic open areas in the West. These public lands support surrounding economies, provide a home for wildlife, ensure access to nature, and safeguard innumerable stories of human experiences on the land. Now it’s time for the BLM to implement the Public Lands Rule to address nature loss, preserve cultural areas, better protect wildlife habitat, and safeguard outdoor access and recreational opportunities. The Biden administration and the BLM have given us a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Today, we should celebrate, and tomorrow, we should get to work.”


Jamie Williams, president of the Wilderness Society

“This rule amounts to a generation-defining shift in how we manage our shared natural resources. BLM lands make up the biggest slice of the federal estate, and now the Biden administration is putting it on the books officially that they will no longer be neglected or treated as just a source of oil and coal. These lands will also be stewarded as sanctuary for wildlife, stronghold for Indigenous cultural sites, haven for outdoor recreation and engine for a robust and responsible clean energy revolution.

“At last, the agency has the tools needed to live up to the balanced approach set by Congress when it defined the mission of the BLM in 1976. Now it’s time we get to work implementing the public lands rule at BLM offices across the West, working closely with Tribes and local communities to tackle crises like climate change, biodiversity loss and lack of access to the outdoors.”


David Willms, associate vice president for

public lands, National Wildlife Federation

“The finalized public lands rule will provide the Bureau of Land Management with new tools to restore and conserve degraded lands, while supporting robust local economies. The rule will help the agency identify intact landscapes that wildlife depend on for survival, which will ensure that they thrive for decades to come. The benefits from this rule are numerous: enhanced connectivity for migrating big game, reduced risk of megafires, control of invasive species, increased forage for wildlife and livestock, improved watershed health, and a landscape that is more resilient in the face of drought and a changing climate.”