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Press Release

BLM’s Final Rule Threatens Western Way of Life

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 18, 2024 | Committee Press Office (202-225-2761)
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Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced its final so-called “Conservation and Landscape Health” rule that will fundamentally upend the agency's longstanding, statutory multiple use and sustained yield mandate and cede control of federal lands to wealthy elites and environmental extremists.

"This devastating decision threatens the western way of life and is a slap in the face for local communities who have diligently stewarded America's resources for generations. Access and the multiple uses of BLM land are an integral part of life in western states and is the backbone of rural economies across the country. When this rule was proposed, several western governors, members of Congress, and thousands of Americans used BLM’s comment period to publicly share their opposition, yet their concerns have gone unheard. Today is another example of the Biden administration leaving local communities out of the conversation and blatantly disregarding input from the American families that are impacted the most. This rule fundamentally threatens the land we use to feed and fuel our country and is at best vaguely defined, unnecessary and burdensome. Fortunately, the House Committee on Natural Resources has been advancing a solution. Congressman Curtis's WEST Act amplifies the concerns of stakeholders across western states and will require the BLM director to withdraw this severely misguided rule and manage lands in accordance with the agency’s statutory multiple use mandate. I look forward to doing everything in my power to help get the WEST Act through the House and I’d like to thank Congressman Curtis for his leadership on this important issue." – House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)

"It is critical that Utah's land remains under the stewardship of those who have tended it for generations. This rule from the Biden Administration undermines the very people who rely on our federal lands for ranching, grazing, recreation, and beyond. Utahns know the true value of these lands, and this rule unjustly restricts access that should remain open to everyone. Instead, it favors wealthy individuals and environmental groups, allowing them to lock up land that belongs to all Utahns. I will work tirelessly to repeal this disastrous effort." – U.S. Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah)


The BLM manages 245 million acres of public lands that are heavily concentrated in the western states. Under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, BLM's mission is guided by multiple use and sustained yield mandate. These uses include livestock grazing, energy and mineral development, timber production, outdoor recreation, habitat for wildlife and watershed protection. 

Often these uses overlap on BLM land and co-exist with each other. Meaningful conservation work continues to occur simultaneously with, and often benefiting from, these other uses. Responsible uses of BLM lands are central to the western way of life. Many rural economies rely on and thrive due to their access to BLM land and its multiple uses.

The rule finalized today would broadly allow the BLM to lease lands under new and vaguely defined restoration and mitigation leases and change standards around multiple use decisions. These conservation leases, or mitigation and restoration leases, could potentially prevent access to federal land for current and future BLM permittees. If the administration determines other uses, such as grazing, energy production, mining or recreation, are incompatible with a lease, those uses would not be allowed and could be prohibited indefinitely from those lands, even after the expiration of a conservation lease. This would effectively lock up those lands indefinitely from multiple use, including potential historic uses of the land.

The Biden administration is conducting an orchestrated attack on public lands using a variety of tools, including so-called conservation as a disguise with restoration and mitigation leases and expediting designation of Areas of Critical Environmental Concern. This final rule, coupled with Antiquities Act abuses, restrictive Resource Management Plans, and Natural Asset Companies only limits access, hurts local economies and removes uses of public lands that benefit Americans. These changes are unnecessary, as meaningful conservation work is already being done on the millions of acres of BLM land with multiple stakeholders. 

Curtis introduced the Western Economic Security Today (WEST) Act in May of 2023, shortly after BLM issued the proposed rule. The bill would require the BLM director to permanently withdraw the rule. The committee held a hearing on this legislation in June of 2023 featuring South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon, who testified on how important access to BLM land is to their states and the devastating impacts a final rule would have. The bill passed through the House Committee on Natural Resources in June of 2023. To learn more about the hearing, click here.

To learn more about the WEST Act, click here