PEERMail | Conservation: Is this the Right Proposal?


Conservation: Is this the Right Proposal?

PEER supporters understand the importance of protecting our public lands. That is why we are interested in your feedback on a recent regulatory proposal by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to put conservation “on par” with other uses on lands managed by BLM.

This is a huge issue. BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public lands in the West, roughly an area twice the size of California. How BLM manages these lands has enormous implications for climate change, biodiversity loss, water security, and the economic well-being of the West.

At first glance, this proposal appears to be a good thing. Many organizations throughout the West, including PEER, have long been critical of BLM’s deference to the oil, gas, mining, and ranching interests at the expense of its conservation mandate.

Protecting natural resources from exploitation clearly needs a boost at BLM, but we have some concerns. The proposal seeks to expand the use of land health standards, which on the face of it sounds good, but PEER has extensively documented BLM’s failure to properly apply and use land health standards in issuing leases and permits for grazing on public lands.

There are a lot of issues to resolve as we seek to understand the implications of this new BLM proposal. For example, the proposal creates a mechanism that would greatly expand leasing of public lands for conservation purposes. However, the purpose, management, scope, and enforcement of these leases needs further clarification.

PEER will submit comments to the BLM by June 20th. Because so much is at stake, we want to hear directly from YOU. Send us your comments on the proposal and tell us your thoughts on the new changes. Here is a link to the proposal. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly with your thoughts, and if you’re inspired, you can support our work by making a special contribution to our effort here.

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