Thursday, December 23, 2010

BLM to Overturn Bush's 'No More Wilderness' Policy

The Bureau of Land Management this afternoon is expected to overturn a George W. Bush administration policy barring the agency from temporarily protecting lands with wilderness qualities. The scheduled 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time announcement by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and BLM Director Bob Abbey in Denver could upend part or all of a 2003 settlement by then-Interior Secretary Gale Norton and the state of Utah and allow BLM to once again preserve roadless landscapes until Congress decides whether to pass permanent protections. Conservation groups for years have lobbied Interior to overturn the Norton settlement -- known as the "no more wilderness" policy -- arguing that it blocked the agency from its statutory duty to protect pristine landscapes in its resource management plans. The Interior announcement is "going to address the deficiencies in BLM's policies with respect to unprotected, but wilderness-quality, lands," said Dave Alberswerth, the Wilderness Society's senior policy adviser on energy issues. "It's going to be a repudiation of Norton's policy" and a recognition of BLM's duty under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act to protect its remaining roadless areas...more

So how does the Wilderness Society know what's in the policy prior to it being released to the public?

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