WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today joined a group of colleagues, led by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), in introducing legislation to protect multiple use policy on federal lands. This legislation blocks the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed Public Lands Rule.
“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, forest management, and economic development. These land management decisions must be returned to Utahns.”
“Nearly half of the land in Wyoming is owned by the federal government. The law has long recognized the value of managing much of that land for multiple use—including mineral development, grazing, recreation, and timber management,” said Ranking Member Barrasso. “In Wyoming, we pride ourselves on being responsible environmental stewards of the land. Now, the radicals in the Biden administration are trying to upend a system that is foundational to public land access and productivity. Their outrageous rule is a threat to our Wyoming way of life and our economy. My bill directs the Bureau of Land Management to withdraw this disastrous proposal and follow the law.”
This legislation is also sponsored by Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Lee (R-UT), John Hoeven (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY). Read the text of the bill here.
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.