Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Western counties join in opposition to BLM’s land-use planning reg

One western Colorado county has sought help to halt the Bureau of Land Management’s Planning 2.0, an Obama-administration rule touted as a way of improving the management of federal lands. County officials in western Colorado have regularly lambasted Planning 2.0 and this week, Garfield County joined in with five other counties in the western United States considering suing to halt the rule, which they have criticized as a central-planning measure. The BLM this month announced that the rule was final and on Monday, Garfield County agreed to spend as much as $40,000 with the Texas-based property-rights organization, the American Stewards of Liberty, to halt it. While Garfield County is taking an active role, Mesa County officials are looking to Congress and a Republican administration under President-elect Donald Trump to deal with the new rule. “I’m hopeful the new administration will push back” on regulations that have been introduced in recent weeks and months, said Mesa County Commission Chairwoman Rose Pugliese. “People don’t realize how much power is being taken away from local field offices” under the new planning rule, Pugliese said. American Stewards of Liberty is working with several counties around the West, including Garfield County, to help them deal with the BLM, said Executive Director Margaret Byfield. The new rules, which have yet to be published in the Federal Register, appear to address how the BLM must deal with the public and state and tribal governments, but not local governments, such as counties, Byfield said. “They have no process or procedures for local governments in theses new rules,” Byfield said. Current rules require BLM managers to work with counties in a public setting as the BLM explains its management goals to local officials, usually county commissioners or the like, who are responsible for health, safety and welfare on the lands the BLM manages, Byfield said...more

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