BLM land grab joins in Obama administraion tyranny by agency

December 31, 2010 17:22

An Obama administration directive designed to preserve more public lands as wilderness is stirring anger in the West, where ranchers, sportsmen and energy companies say they could lose access to acreage they count on for their recreation and livelihood. – WSJ

The Bureau of Land Management joins the EPA, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the FCC, HHS, the Department of Transportation and DHS in pushing Obama’s radical leftist agenda without congressional approval. ~ Editor

By STEPHANIE SIMON at Wall Street Journal


The regulatory change, initiated this month, directs the Bureau of Land Management to survey its vast holdings stretching between Alaska, Arizona, California and Colorado, in search of unspoiled back country. The agency can then designate these tracts—potentially millions of acres—as “wild lands.”

But the move, which did not require legislative approval, has drawn a hostile response from many in the West. “This harms economic growth,” said Rep. Rob Bishop, a Utah Republican who takes over next month as chair of the House subcommittee on public lands. “The West is being abused.”

House Republicans, who will hold the majority in the new Congress that arrives next week, say they plan hearings on the new policy and perhaps seek to cut funding to the BLM for identifying and managing wild lands.

The administration’s initiative reasserts a power the BLM used extensively in the 1970s and 1980s to designate stretches of prairie, desert, mountain range or river basin as wild and to limit human intrusion on those landscapes. The agency largely relinquished this practice in 2003 to settle a lawsuit by the governor of Utah, who was seeking to block the BLM from setting aside 2.6 million acres in his state as wilderness.

The administration’s move overrides the 2003 agreement and asserts that preserving the wild qualities of remote lands is a “high priority.”

“The message of the [midterm] election is we want less regulation, less government intrusion. We want to keep these lands open,” said Rep. Dean Heller, a Nevada Republican.


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