Public Lands Rule would level the playing field for conservation

May 3, 2023

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a draft rule late last month known as the Public Lands Rule, which would place conservation on equal footing with industrial development and other traditional uses on public lands—a marked shift from the status quo of the past 150 years.

Historically, the federal government has incentivized drilling, mining, logging, and livestock grazing on public lands through outdated leasing laws dating back to the late 1800s. The Public Lands Rule, however, would create a pathway for BLM to issue “conservation leases”, opening the door for private groups to promote land protection and ecosystem restoration on parts of the BLM’s 245 million acres of federal public land. In addition to issuing conservation leases, the rule requires the BLM to prioritize the creation of new “areas of critical environmental concern”—a designation that limits harmful activities like mining and drilling.

The rule would also help the Biden administration achieve its goal of protecting 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030According to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the proposal is a “smart path to ensure healthy landscapes, abundant wildlife habitat, clear water and balanced decision-making on our public lands.”

New podcast episode: A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad mining bill

In this episode of The Landscape, Kate and Aaron are joined by Alli Henderson, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, and Blaine Miller-McFeeley, a senior legislative representative at Earthjustice, to talk about the recently-introduced Mining Regulatory Clarity Act—or, as Miller-McFeeley has renamed it, the Dirty Mining Trumps All Other Uses Act.

Quick hits

‘A cry for help’: Federal agency eyes a new kind of leasing to safeguard public lands


Opinion: Department of Interior should reform oil and gas leasing system, invest in outdoor recreation

Daily Herald

The Thirst Gap episode three: The Big Empty


Big wildfires can devastate California’s fish. But they thrive with frequent, small burns


Many bird species having fewer chicks as world warms

E&E News

Restrictions on explosive materials, fireworks on public lands takes effect


To reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions on roads, states need dedicated funding


Out-of-staters descend on Teton County for annual shed antler hunt

Wyoming Public Media

Quote of the day

”The potential that the Mining Law might not fully account for what modern mining looks like and the amount of acerage it needs isn’t necessarily a surprise. I mean, we are dealing with a 151-year-old law after all.”

—Alli Henderson, senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, The Landscape

Picture this

flowering cactus

Happy #NationalWildflowerWeek! This beautiful cholla flower was found in Cibola County and features some of the most vibrant colors in our gorgeous state. #wildflower #wildflowerseason #wildflowerphotography #NationalPhotographyMonth #outdoors #NewMexico #NewMexicoTrue

(featured image: The Steese National Conservation Area in Alaska. Photo: Bureau of Land Management via Flickr)