Last week, Rep. John Curtis (UT-03), Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04), and Rep. Russ Fulcher (ID-01) introduced legislation alongside 10 of their Western Caucus colleagues to direct the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to withdraw the proposed rule titled “Conservation and Landscape Health.” This rule undermines FLPMA’s multiple-use requirement for BLM lands and would hinder access to public lands for energy and critical mineral development, grazing, forest management, and recreation. With more than 90% of BLM’s 245 million acres located in the West, the rule would have an outsized effect on Western states and their residents.
“The BLM’s proposed rule would undermine the livelihoods of Utah’s farmers, ranchers, recreation businesses, and more,” said Congressman Curtis. “In a state that has so much natural beauty to share, this rule attempts to lock up those precious lands that should be open and accessible to the public.”
“In the West, we know locking up lands with preservationist designations does not automatically guarantee healthy landscapes. In fact, the opposite is often the case,” said Chairman Newhouse. “Farmers and ranchers are the best stewards of the land, not bureaucrats in Washington who seek to hamper our land managers’ ability to conserve the land they rely on for their livelihoods. The BLM has time and again shown their aim is to drastically reduce, or even eliminate, grazing on public lands, and this proposed rule is the latest iteration of this effort. I am proud to introduce legislation to rescind it.”
“The Bureau of Land Management’s proposed rule ignores Congressional input as well as those of sportsmen and Tribes, whose access to certain federal lands could be restricted if the rule goes into effect,” said Rep. Fulcher. “BLM, under the Interior Department, should be prioritizing proper management of high-risk fire areas and leasing on federal lands so we can secure American energy independence. This rule only undermines these goals.”
Original sponsors of the legislation include Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Vice Chairs John Curtis (UT-03), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Mark Amodei (NV-02), Pete Stauber (MN-08), and Chris Stewart (UT-02), as well as Western Caucus Members Russ Fulcher (ID-01), Harriet Hageman (WY-AL), Paul Gosar (AZ-09), Blake Moore (UT-01), Burgess Owens (UT-04), Cliff Bentz (OR-02), and Ryan Zinke (MT-01).
Read the full text of H.R. 3397 here.