NPCA submitted the following position to members of the House Committee on Natural Resources ahead of a markup scheduled for June 21, 2023.
H.R. 3397 – To require the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to withdraw a rule of the Bureau of Land Management relating to conservation and landscape health: NPCA opposes this legislation which would undermine an ongoing public process by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to provide a clear, thoughtful approach to conservation, restoration and recreation on our public lands. The proposed Conservation and Landscape Health rule is a commonsense way to ensure conservation is on equal footing with other multiple uses on public lands and is consistent with the current law as is outlined in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). Under FLPMA, the BLM’s multiple-use mandate already includes conservation. However, the agency has had a long-standing reputation for prioritizing extraction and grazing activities above recreation and the protection of wildlife, watersheds and cultural resources.
The new proposed rule would place conservation of public lands on equal footing with other multiple uses during resource management planning. This more accurate and balanced approach to land management is critical to the long-term health and condition of land and waterways. Across the West, many of our national parks share boundaries, watersheds and migration routes with BLM lands. What happens outside a park’s borders can dramatically impact the air, water and wildlife inside a park – which is why it’s important to ensure adjacent lands are well-managed.
This conservation rule would greatly benefit the future of our public lands by making them more resilient to fire and drought while also ensuring natural and cultural resources and wildlife are well-protected. Having healthy lands is a smart approach for the future of BLM, and for communities across the country. H.R. 3397 would undermine the important progress made in the proposed rule and undermine the engagement of citizens who have shared their thoughts during the public comment period.
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Legislative Director, Government Affairs