LOGAN – The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final Public Lands Rule could threaten the states $1.2 billion annual livestock production and $3.6 billion annual crude oil production if it goes in to affect.

Some provisions in the Rule will hurt local management of Utah’s 22.8 million acres of BLM land in Utah. While BLM makes the claim the Rule will enhance conservation, it will impair the ability of BLM employees and their partners at the state and local level to effectively improve and restore Utah’s landscapes and watersheds. 

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said Utah has a long track record of successful conservation and restoration of its public lands in tandem with local BLM offices.

“The added layers of red tape and federal bureaucracy embedded in the BLM’s Public Lands Rule create new roadblocks to conservation work,” he said. “The health of Utah’s lands and wildlife will suffer as a result. This Rule is contrary to the bedrock principle of ‘multiple-use’ in the BLM’s Federal Land Policy and Management Act.”

The Governor said he will work with Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and his office to challenge this Rule in federal court as soon as possible.

The new BLM rule opens the door for special interest groups to lease public lands for “restoration and mitigation” while effectively locking out or excluding almost all other uses, including traditional activities such as livestock grazing, certain recreational uses, or commercial guiding.

This delegation of power and exclusion of certain user groups contravenes the respectful balancing of interests that is fundamental to public lands management and Utah’s way of life.

Utah calls on the BLM to immediately withdraw the Public Lands Rule and instead work with Western states and other stakeholders on practical solutions to enhance the conservation of our public lands.

In June of 2023, Gov. Cox, along with five other governors, sent a letter trying to get the BLM to withdraw its initial draft of the Public Lands Rule. Although the BLM did make a few changes based on the states’ feedback, the final Rule carries forward some of the most harmful provisions from the originally proposed Rule.

The Utah Farm Bureau Federation (UFBF) is also disappointed with the new rule. Despite scores of comments and recommendations, the final Public Lands rule released recently by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has changed little since its initial release.

The BLM and other federal agencies continue to ignore those who use the land according to multiple-use principles outlined by the Federal Land and Policy Management Act (FLPMA) passed by Congress. Instead, the government agency is placing inflexible, single-use priorities ahead of long-established multiple uses.

This rule will alter the management of BLM lands not only in Utah but across the West to the detriment of livestock grazing and other long-standing, economically beneficial uses of BLM lands and surrounding local communities.

UFBF touts Utah’s ranchers for having a long history of caring for public lands and working to ensure the long-term health of the landscape. They look forward to continuing to use science-backed grazing practices to manage and enhance rangeland health. This is a goal the BLM should share.”

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