Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Counties worry about reduced voice under BLM’s new planning rule

Some county governments in Colorado and other western states fear that a proposed revision in Bureau of Land Management planning rules could reduce the role of local governments and states in the agency’s planning process. The proposal would “marginalize” requirements that the BLM coordinate with local and state governments in land planning and management and that BLM plans in general be as consistent as possible with state and local plans, according to a letter to the agency approved by Garfield County commissioners Monday. The letter also is being sent on behalf of entities including Kane County, Utah, and Chaves County, New Mexico. The result of the proposed changes would be that local governments would be in the same position as the general public, the letter says. “Thus, a person residing hundreds or even thousands of miles from the planning area would have essentially the same rights as local governments, whose citizens and economies depend on the use of public lands,” the letter says. Garfield Commissioner Mike Samson, the county’s representative for Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado, said he’s expecting that entity to also express the same concerns to the BLM. The BLM proposal is part of what it calls its Planning 2.0 initiative, intended to modernize its planning process. Garfield Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said Monday that the new rule would take a lot of decisionmaking away from local BLM individuals and move it “up the ladder” under landscape-level planning...more

1 comment:

Floyd said...

This article indicates that the BLM is attempting to change the language of statutes by writing a regulation (again). Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) instructs BLM to resolve inconsistencies between the BLM proposals and local natural resource plans and policies (see 43 CFR1620.3). National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents (EIS or EA) must discuss any inconsistency between the proposed federal action and existing, officially approved, state or local plans and laws (see 40CFR1502.161). NEPA requires the agency to describe what it will do to reconcile federal plans with the local ordinance. This is just another example of an executive agency attempting to circumvent the separation of powers that used to be part of the Constitution.