The Pros And Cons Of The BLM 2.0 Management Plan

Federal LandsThere are presently millions of acres of land in the West that are managed by the BLM on which hunters and fishermen rely upon annually.  Under the BLM’s Planning 2.0 proposal, a summary of what is being proposed is yet another smoke and mirrors presentation.

Although there are some reasonable issues being proposed, it’s what is behind the curtain that causes the most distress among those that oppose this plan.

Transparency is always the issue and given the nature of government, BLM or FWS, it’s typically sub-supported by environmentalists who want their way through donations that are typically hard to pass up.  This puts the BLM and FWS in a position of bending to envirolitigants by “dressing” up the formal legislation.

What’s Good About The BLM Planning Rule 2.0

The following are remarks that were sent to Arizona legislators from local sportsmen’s groups based in Arizona.

1.    The new rule provides three additional opportunities for cooperating agency and public involvement. These extra steps require the BLM to gather public opinion and consider the best available information at the start of the planning process. Local, state, and tribal governments, including County Supervisors, will retain their cooperating agency status in BLM land-use planning as required by the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act (FLPMA).

2.    The new rule requires BLM’s to propose “preliminary alternatives,” and solicit feedback from the public before formally proposing a range of alternatives in the draft Resource Management Plan. This extra step will allow the public to be more constructively engaged and have their voices heard in the development of a Resource Management Plan revision or amendment. We believe this will help overcome the litigious culture that often dictates public lands management.

3.    The new planning rule requires the BLM to identify important areas for fish and wildlife and high valued backcountry hunting and fishing areas early in the plan development process. This will help avoid and minimize conflicts with other land uses. For example, the BLM will be required to identify the locations of wildlife migration corridor early in the planning process. This would be a critical step supporting responsible management of big game animals and other wildlife, and enhance the BLM’s ability to support state wildlife agency population objectives.

4.    Finally, we ask you to take a long view on Planning 2.0. If it is repealed, BLM planning reverts back to the 1983 planning rules, which were universally unpopular. Once utilized, the CRA would prevent new rules from being developed that are “substantially the same.” Given the nature of planning regulations, it would be hard to create something substantially different, saddling Western sportsmen and other public land users permanently with an ineffective planning rule. A better path would be to work with the new Secretary of the Interior to address any remaining concerns through the administrative process.

In summary, the revised Planning 2.0 rule increases agency transparency and incorporates best practices in land-use planning and wildlife management, while maintaining the important cooperating agency role of state and local governments. The new rule is a productive step toward improving BLM planning, and our organizations and the thousands of Western sportsmen.

It is recognized that changes need to be made with not only the Bureau of Land Management but the Fish and Wildlife Service as well.  Over the decades, these organizations have manipulated the public for self serving purposes supported by environmental groups with non-sportsmen’s agendas.

What Is Wrong With BLM Planning Rule 2.0

BLM Early YearsFirst, one only needs to look at the map included in this article above to understand the pragmatic view of the obvious is that “government owns too much!”  But the interests of the BLM and FWS were never to confiscate land, but to protect it for the public.  It’s a simple strategy that got blown out of proportion.

Both the BLM and the FWS are a heavy burden to tax payers.  Tax payers pay the bills so they can be restricted.  Sportsmen pay the bills locally through fees and licenses when state Fish & Game and Departments of Natural Resources butt heads with BLM and FWS as well as the left wing green groups.

Both these organizations now have huge budgets which are mostly spent on the administrative side, not the field side.  (For 2016: BLM $1.26B and FWS $1.56B )They are top-heavy to put it mildly and this is due to expansive legislation to appease the environmentalists.  Little is ever done to support the outdoorsmen, except with legislation like 2.0 which promotes input from the public and touts transparency, but it’s rarely taken into consideration.

BLM TodayBecause of the lack of transparency, sportsmen and state wildlife agencies have struggled over the years to understand what the BLM is doing and information is hard to come by.  You need only call your local BLM department with questions and chances are you’ll get the run around (smoke) and pushed off to some other person (mirror).  There are great examples of where the BLM and FWS refuse to cooperate with local agencies and sportsmen.  Mexican Gray Wolf, Cormorants and Sage Grouse to name a few.