The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has announced that it is requesting ideas and input on how the agency can make its land use planning procedures and environmental reviews timelier and less costly, as well as ensure its responsiveness to local needs. This effort to improve the planning process comes after the President’s March 27 approval of House Joint Resolution 44, which nullified the BLM’s Planning 2.0 rule.
“The decisions made in land use plans and environmental reviews are fundamental to how public lands and resources are used for the benefit of all Americans,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “The Trump Administration and the Department of the Interior are committed to working with state and local governments, communities, Indian tribes, and other stakeholders as true partners to determine the best ways to accomplish this, now and into the future.”
Acting BLM Director Michael Nedd said the agency is already working with state and local elected officials and groups, including the Western Governors’ Association and the National Association of Counties, to engage and gather input. “We are doing this because Secretary Zinke and President Trump both strongly believe that public engagement, especially at the local level, is a critical component of federal land management,” Nedd said. “We need and want input from our state and local partners as well as from the general public in this effort.”
All can submit ideas and provide input during a 21-day period beginning July 3, 2017 and ending July 24, 2017, at this online form: goo.gl/CYxqM5. The BLM will incorporate information from this effort in a report to Secretary Zinke due later this year.
Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment-including your personal identifying information-may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask the BLM in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, they cannot guarantee that they will be able to do so.
BRC/Sharetrails will be submitting comments, and we encourage you to do the same. Specific ideas reflecting your own experiences will have the most weight, but we offer several themes for you to consider in crafting your input:
- Formalize “pre-scoping” opportunities to facilitate stakeholder input early in the process.
- Establish stakeholder groups that meet on a regular basis.
- Focus on collaborative solutions – incorporate stakeholder agreements and marginalize those who choose to perpetuate conflict.
- Re-create and commit to a culture of compliance, picking realistic targets and getting projects done on time and on budget.
- Utilize contractors effectively. Organize projects and delegate strategically.
- Allow for non-Federal solutions to management challenges, such as allowing NGOs to assist in visitor education, trail/facility maintenance and routine monitoring.