Last week, the Bureau of Land Management ended a 90-day comment period on the proposed Public Lands Rule, which will put conservation on equal footing with oil and gas development and other extractive uses. 92 percent of the more than 200,000 comments submitted were in support of the Public Lands Rule!*
Together, we demonstrated broad and substantial public support for the Bureau of Land Management to implement an ambitious conservation vision in order to meet the needs of the 21st century. Thank you to everyone who submitted their comments and made their voices heard.
The Public Lands Rule highlights the need for the agency to work with local communities to focus on the conservation of land, water, and wildlife to ensure future access to federal public lands while combating the growing impacts of climate change. It also encourages agency managers to work more closely with Tribal nations to ensure stronger cultural resource protection for ancestral lands across the West. The plan seeks to correct a system that has been wildly imbalanced. Currently, 90% of BLM land is open to drilling whereas only 14% are managed for conservation.
In Good Company
During the public comment period, the Conservation Lands Foundation and its Friends Grassroots Network created substantial public awareness around the need for the Public Lands Rule and mobilized the public to take action.
Attendees of the BLM Reno public meeting showing their support for public lands!
Public land enthusiasts weren’t the only ones who supported the plan. Legal experts, scientists, and elected officials from across the country sent their comments to the Bureau of Land Management in favor of the Public Lands Rule.
“The overwhelming support is reflective of recent polling that shows Americans, regardless of party affiliation, support national goals of conserving our nation's lands and waters," said Danielle Murray, Senior Legal and Policy Director at the Conservation Lands Foundation.
“Industry and industry allies opposed the rule in efforts to continue to monopolize and control management, but people in public lands communities support this rule because it is built with public land users in mind,” said Murray.
The Bureau of Land Management will review all public comments and use them to revise the proposed rule, which will then be reviewed by the White House Office of Management and Budget before being finalized and published in the Federal Register. This process could take up to a year.
While your participation in this campaign has been immensely helpful to help bring balance to the Bureau of Land Management’s mission to focus on conservation, there is a small but vocal minority of the opposition who want to keep the scales tipped in the oil and gas industry’s favor.
Some members of Congress are introducing legislation to prohibit the implementation of this plan. We will be sure to keep you informed on upcoming opportunities to #ActNowForPublicLands.
While the campaign to bring balance to future public lands management may not be over just yet, we’re certainly taking this moment to celebrate a momentous achievement in making our collective voices heard. Thank you!
Report: The Conservation Lands Foundation’s Policy Director Kara Matsumoto co-authored a report with the Center for American Progress that examines how the Public Lands Rule will provide meaningful conservation protections to deserving landscapes across the country.
*Based on a statistical analysis by the Center for Western Priorities