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Dept. of Interior unveils new policy to guide BLM in management and conservation practices

The Sweetwater Canyon Wilderness Study Area. (Bob Wick/BLM)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of the Interior announced in a press release Thursday that it has finalized the Public Lands Rule that will govern future practices within the Bureau of Land Management.

The policy aims to provide the BLM with tools to best manage public lands for better ecosystem health and to build resilience in the face of climate change, according to the press release.

This final ruling was shaped from initial rule proposals in April 2023. A period of public comment that included over 200,000 public comments and five public meetings aided the Department of the Interior in creating the finalized Public Lands Rule with input from the public, Tribal governments and industry interest groups.

The final rule, which dovetails with other aspects of Biden administration policy like the America the Beautiful initiative, combines prior management practices used by the BLM with updated data and Indigenous knowledge to “guide balanced decision-making” in the establishment of restoration and mitigation leases, as well as add clarification to how lands become categorized as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern.

“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,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. “Complemented with historic investments from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are implementing enduring changes that will benefit wildlife, communities and habitats.”  

For more information or to read the press release in full, check out the BLM website.