Washington, DC – Today, the Senate passed H.J. Res 44, a measure also passed by the House a few weeks ago, to roll back the public process and progressive management on the 245 million acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. Congress used the Congressional Review Act (CRA), an arcane rule that allows Congress to roll back agency regulations within 60 days, to repeal BLM Planning 2.0. Planning 2.0 was a widely-lauded effort to modernize the 30 year-old rules currently governing land planning on BLM land and give it a better public process.
Planning 2.0 was a strong rulemaking, based on extensive public input. It made important changes to modernize BLM planning, including how the BLM handles data from uses like outdoor recreation. BLM Planning 2.0 was built in response to years of gathering input from local communities and diverse shareholders about how best to manage these public lands. The Planning 2.0 Rule would have ensured a better, fairer public process for the management of public lands.
Repealing Planning 2.0 curtails the public process on public lands and also bars “substantially similar” rulemaking in the future. This means that the BLM will be stuck with an outdated process designed in the early 1980’s and will be unable to update it unless Congress acts to give the BLM the authority to make absolutely necessary modernizations to its rule.
“There were many great things about the 1980’s, but BLM land management rules were not one of them. Like the cassette tape, it was time for those rules to be updated and Planning 2.0 incorporated input from local communities to create more flexible, modern land management. Planning 2.0 improved how outdoor recreation would be managed on public lands, and the CRA sends us back to the 80’s” said Adam Cramer, Executive Director of Outdoor Alliance.
Marc Berejka, REI’s director of government and community affairs, added that: “The Co-op has long supported policies that protect and expand recreation opportunities on our public lands, and the effort around BLM Planning 2.0 would have been a big improvement. The updated policy would have allowed for broader public participation in the land management process — including by those of us who believe that a life outdoors is a life well lived. We are disappointed that Congress has voted to pull back from this policy improvement. We hope that policymakers and stakeholders can come together this year to reframe and restore the innovative approach to land management decisions that BLM Planning 2.0 had offered.”
“Having a voice on our public lands is incredibly important to the recreation community and we’re disappointed to see this step backwards on the public process,” said Katherine Hollis at The Mountaineers.
“It’s disappointing to see a constructive planning process tossed out. Like never before, outdoor recreationists must buckle down and engage in the public process, developing the relationships that will highlight the value of outdoor recreation for quality of life and the economy,” said Aaron Clark at the International Mountain Bicycling Association.
“BLM 2.0 provided more opportunities for the public to participate in the land management planning process. That is a good thing and the Access Fund uses those public comment opportunities to get our work done. Overturning BLM 2.0 sends a message to stakeholders that commercial interests are more important than the public voice”, says Erik Murdock, Policy Director at the Access Fund.