Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wildly Bigger Issue

On January 28, 2011 the Western Caucus sent a letter to Secretary Salazar stating their opposition to Secretarial Order 3310.

Highlights from the letter
Secretarial order 3310 appears to be an underhanded attempt by the DOI to circumvent Congress and the federal rulemaking process by designating potentially millions of acres of publicly owned lands in western states as de facto wilderness under a new, loosely defined “wild lands” category.
By singling out wilderness characteristics, and ignoring other resources, secretarial order 3310 appears to be intentionally stacking the deck against multiple use management. If a new inventory is going to occur, we suggest all multiple use resources be included so a rational and responsible decision can be made on tradeoffs in management to best serve the public interest.
We believe public lands should be managed in a way that provides the greatest benefit to the public. The multiple-use philosophy – which encourages the environmentally responsible use of public lands for conservation, recreation and economic purposes—is the best way to accomplish that goal.
We are convinced that proceeding with this order will only serve to create greater uncertainty, invite litigation, and create further division among the various public land stakeholders, environmental groups and local communities.

What a great statement. I think that we should commend our western representatives for calling out the misuse of power the Department of Interior is conferring upon itself. The best part about this whole letter is that it calls attention to the bigger issue that we face when working towards proper land management.

The BLM is progressively working towards a one sided management strategy for our public lands. They have singled out wilderness characteristics as their core value and have focused their energies on this objective. This is done while acting in complete negligence and reckless abandon for all other aspects of public lands management.

I am glad that someone back there is Washington gets it. The issue is not specifically with the new Wild Lands designation, the issue is how the BLM is becoming more unapologetic about their transition away from multiple-use.  They are increasingly focused on wilderness style management and less on making public lands available for public use.

I agree wholeheartedly that public lands should be managed in a way that provides the greatest benefit to the public. I commend our caucus for putting this letter together and delivering it to Secretary Salazar.  From Nevada Dean Heller, Joe Heck and John Ensign all signed the letter. Please take the time to thank your representatives who signed the letter. Let them know that we stand behind our representatives who share our beliefs in the multiple-use philosophy for public lands management.
Full Letter: