Tuesday, January 25, 2011

BLM Charm Offensive Backfires, Critics Fume Over 'Wild Lands' Policy

Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey's meetings with top elected leaders from Western states has failed to soothe anger over his agency's new "wild lands" policy that could extend the highest level of federal protection to millions of acres of public land. Some who have met with the BLM director in the past week say Abbey has failed to provide key details about how the Dec. 22, 2010, executive order from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will be enforced and what impact it will have on key policies like energy development and recreation on public lands. Utah Rep. Rob Bishop (R), who met privately with Abbey on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., said he came away "extremely frustrated" with the BLM chief's responses to fundamental questions about how the new wild lands directive will be implemented. "I kept asking for reasons and specifics," said Bishop, chairman of the House National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee. "'Why replace the resource management plans already in place?' They won't tell me why or what that was about," he continued. Abbey and Salazar also met this week with Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment. Simpson's office issued a statement that indicated the congressman was unmoved by the meeting and still has concerns about Interior overextending its authority on lands management...more

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