Romney Joins Colleagues in Demanding BLM to Withdraw Public Lands Rule

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today joined a group of colleagues, led by Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Steve Daines (R-MT), in pressing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to withdraw its proposed Public Lands Rule. The senators stressed the negative impact the proposal would have on western states, as the rule would undermine the multiple use requirements established by Congress and lock away taxpayer-owned lands from activities that are essential to local economies, including grazing, energy development, and tourism.

The full letter to BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning can be found here. Earlier this month, Romney joined colleagues in introducing legislation to block the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed Public Lands Rule, protecting multiple-use policy on federal lands.

“The proposal creates a framework for ‘conservation leases’ without authorization from Congress. The proposal specifically notes that ‘BLM shall not authorize any other uses of the leased land’ that it determines are ‘inconsistent’ with this new framework, thereby interrupting the successful balance of other responsible uses from hunting and grazing, to energy development and recreation,” the senators wrote.

“This new leasing regime opens the door for a new, noncompetitive process designed to lock away parcels of land, with no limits to size, for a period of 10 or more years. It’s clear that anti-grazing and anti-development organizations would abuse this tool to attempt to halt ranching and block access to our nation’s abundant energy reserves located on public lands,” the senators continued.

“BLM’s proposed Public Lands Rule is an effort to empower special interests that have long opposed BLM’s statutory mandate by prioritizing non-development over the principles of multiple use and sustained yield. Taking large parcels of land out of BLM’s well-established multiple use mandate would cause significant harm to many western states and negatively impact the livelihoods of ranchers, energy producers, and many others that depend on access to federal lands. As such, the proposal should be withdrawn immediately,” the senators concluded.

“Utah is, and always will be, a public lands state. But that doesn’t change the fact that our land is best managed by our communities and the people closest to it—not unelected, federal bureaucrats,” said Senator Romney. “The Biden Administration’s newest rule is a flagrant violation of the multiple-use Bureau of Land Management mandates to the detriment of the Utahns who rely on this land for recreation and economic development. These land management decisions must be returned to Utahns.”

In addition to Romney, Hoeven and Daines, the letter is signed by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-WY) and Senators James Risch (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Roger Marshall (R-KS).


On March 30, 2023, the BLM published a proposed rule that would create a new category of public land use—conservation—for purposes of “protection and restoration activities.” This new conservation category would, however, allow for significant restriction of the lands’ multiple use mandate, negating the conservation benefits to the land provided by other land uses like recreation and management.

The Federal Land Policy and Management (FLPMA) Act of 1976 requires the BLM to manage and lease its public lands for multiple uses. This rule undermines current law by limiting the parcels of land available for other valid multiple uses.