Western ranchers get big win in BLM rule repeal

President signs resolution rolling back Bureau of Land Management rule feared to add red tape to local land management planning process.

On Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump signed into law House Joint Resolution 44 – the joint resolution disapproving of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)’s “Planning 2.0” rule.

The bill was included under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows an incoming administration to cancel a federal regulation enacted from a previous administration. Before the Trump Administration, only once had a president signed a bill that used the CRA to nullify a federal regulation.

In signing the bill, Trump said the rule was one of the “federal power grabs that centralize decision-making in Washington (D.C.) away from states and local governments -- another big disaster.”

He added that House Joint Resolution 44 removes a BLM rule that “took control of land use decisions away from states and local decision-makers and gave it to Washington, and that’s not good; that’s never good.”

Land owners and conservation groups praised the rollback.

The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) said it was pleased that Trump and Congress “understand that the BLM should go back to the drawing board to craft a more inclusive planning policy.”

While BLM promoted Planning 2.0 as a tool to increase local government input in the land management planning process, the rule instead added undue administrative burdens on these crucial stakeholders, NACD said. With Trump’s signature, the BLM planning rule process will revert to the original planning rule procedures.

NACD said it looks forward to working with BLM on the future development of a planning process rule that both modernizes the planning process and increases the opportunity for local government involvement in development of the plans.

Joel Bousman, a Wyoming rancher and member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. (NCBA) and the Public Lands Council (PLC), was in attendance at the White House for the signing. Both organizations have voiced opposition to the rule.

“BLM’s Planning 2.0 rule would have caused a wholesale shift in management focus at BLM by prioritizing ‘social and environmental change’ over ensuring the multiple use of public lands,” said Ethan Lane, executive director of PLC and NCBA federal lands. “When you couple the wholesale shift away from multiple use with the elimination of stakeholder and local input, the rule was unworkable for western communities. We applaud the action by President Trump and look forward to working with the new Administration to bring together a streamlined planning process that works for livestock ranchers and the western communities that depend on the use of BLM lands.”

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