BLM Finalizes Public Lands Rule

BLM Finalizes Public Lands Rule

On April 18, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its final strategy for the agency’s management of public lands. Through the Public Lands Rule, the agency will now recognize conservation as an essential component of public lands management on equal footing as other multiple uses. The BLM states that the rule is intended to help improve the health and resilience of public lands in the face of a changing climate; conserve important wildlife habitat and intact landscapes; facilitate responsible development; and better recognize unique cultural and natural resources on public lands.

“As stewards of America’s public lands, the Interior Department takes seriously our role in helping bolster landscape resilience in the face of worsening climate impacts. Today’s final rule helps restore balance to our public lands as we continue using the best-available science to restore habitats, guide strategic and responsible development, and sustain our public lands for generations to come,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “Complemented with historic investments from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are implementing enduring changes that will benefit wildlife, communities, and habitats.”

The draft rule was first proposed in April 2023 and was open for public comment. Specific substantive comments led the BLM to clarify provisions directing the agency to manage for landscape health, providing a mechanism for restoring and protecting public lands through restoration and mitigation leases, and clarifying the designation and management of Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC).

“The BLM received and considered over 200,000 comments on the proposed rule from individuals, state, Tribal and local governments, industry groups, and advocacy organizations, which led to important improvements in this final rule,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Dr. Steve Feldgus. “Continued broad collaboration with this diverse group of partners will be key to our implementation of this rule to ensure that our public lands are being managed for all Americans.”

The final rule will go into effect on June 10, 2024.

May 15, 2024