April 3, 2023 — Last week, the Department of the Interior proposed the Public Lands Rule, aimed at guiding the balanced management of America’s public lands for current and future generations. The rule equips the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) with tools to improve public lands’ resilience against climate change, conserve wildlife habitat and landscapes, plan for development, and recognize unique cultural and natural resources. It addresses challenges like wildfires, droughts, and severe storms while promoting collaboration with communities, states, and tribes for responsible resource development.
The proposed rule supports conservation on equal footing with other uses, increasing access to outdoor recreation and aligning with the BLM’s multiple use and sustained yield mission. It builds on President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act investments by directing land managers to prioritize restoration work on lands and waters. The rule also introduces conservation leasing, a tool authorized by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), to facilitate restoration work with community partners and generate revenue for American taxpayers.
The proposal includes a roadmap for the BLM to align with other land management agencies, ensuring the inventory and assessment of public lands’ health, including watersheds, forests, and wildlife habitats. This information will be used to identify trends, implement adaptive management strategies, and make informed decisions based on the best available science. Additionally, the rule provides a framework for prioritizing the identification, evaluation, and designation of Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) through land use planning.
A 75-day public comment period will follow the publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register, along with five information forums hosted by the BLM.