Senate repeals Obama’s federal land planning rule

© Reuters. Two of a band of wild horses graze in the Nephi Wash area outside of Enterprise, Utah

By Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Tuesday struck down a rule aimed at giving the public more participation in federal land administration decisions, the latest move by the Republican-led Congress to undo the administration’s environmental regulations. Obama considering a burden.

The Senate voted 51-48 to pass a resolution repealing the Bureau of Land Management’s Resource Management Planning rule, known as BLM 2.0, finalized in December by the Obama administration.

The rule updated the 30-year process the agency followed in developing land use plans on the 245 million acres of federal land it manages.

Senators who voted to repeal the rule, such as Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, said it diluted local authority over decisions on how to use the land for grazing, energy and mineral development and recreation. , and gave outward voices with an outsized voice on local matters.

Supporters, such as top Democrat on the energy committee, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, said the rule modernized the existing BLM process to make it more transparent.

“When it comes to public lands, we want transparency, we want sunshine, we want a bottom-up approach when it comes to land management,” Cantwell said.

Republicans have taken advantage of a little-used law known as the Congressional Review Act to repeal the BLM 2.0 rule, as well as other recently enacted regulations with simple majorities in both houses, denying senators the opportunity to obstruct and stop a vote. .

Last month, Republicans repealed a securities disclosure rule aimed at curbing corruption at energy and mining companies and voted to remove methane emission limits on drilling operations using the CRA.

Some conservation groups said that using the CRA to revoke the measure was “instinctive” and unnecessary, and that the land planning rule could have been revised by the BLM.

“I have a hard time understanding why they would waste their time trying to break this rule and why not let the administration fix it,” said Phil Hanceford of the Wilderness Society.

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