Committee Investigates Administration's Efforts to Limit Access to Federal Lands
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 24, 2023 | Committee Press Office (202-225-2761)
Today, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing to examine the Biden administration's ongoing efforts to limit access to federal lands and ignore the interests of local communities. Subcommittee Chairman Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) released the following statement in response:
"Congress, not unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., has authority over lands and territories in the United States. Unfortunately, BLM continues to sidestep Congressional authority by enacting new rules that further restrict federal lands for multiple use including grazing, mineral development, energy production and recreation. Since his first day in office, Joe Biden has abused his authority to add large swaths of acreage to the federal estate, reducing public access in the process. This new rule represents the latest rush to lock the gates on federal lands by the Biden administration and directly threatens every aspect of American life."
The Property Clause of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress authority over the lands, territories and other property of the United States. Congress’s power over federal lands is “without limitation." However, recent actions by the Biden administration have circumvented congressional authority and indicated a lack of interest in stakeholders and local communities.
Specifically, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) operates under a multiple-use and sustained yield mandate to manage public lands and their resources to best meet the present and future needs of the American people. As Congress provided BLM with its multiple use and sustained yield directive, any changes in this mission would require an act of Congress. Yet the BLM continually fails to prioritize resource management but instead focuses on expanding its definition of conservation and scope of work outside its original mission.
The Biden administration has also consistently abused the power of executive authority through land grabs without the input of local communities and stakeholders. Local leaders and communities are now left in fear of future land grabs and new designations, without consideration for the impact new designations might have on these local communities.
This hearing was an important opportunity for committee members to hear from local community stakeholders and further understand how the actions of the Biden administration have limited their access to federal lands.To learn more, click here.
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