Wednesday, February 8, 2017

House votes to kill BLM “Planning 2.0” rule aimed at giving residents of Colorado and the West greater control over public land - Full Article

By Bruce Finley | | The Denver Post
PUBLISHED: February 7, 2017

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to kill a federal rule that gives Americans more of a voice in large-scale planning for projects using public land, including 8.4 million acres in Colorado.

The action launched by House Republicans, including sponsors Rep. Scott Tipton of Colorado and Liz Cheney of Wyoming, would nullify the Bureau of Land Management’s “Planning 2.0” rule that took effect in December. That rule governs all planning for future uses of 250 million acres of federal public land that is concentrated in the West.

It was the third time in a week that lawmakers invoked the Congressional Review Act to strike at Obama administration environmental rules.The act lets them roll back executive action taken during the past 60 legislative work days — if the rule imposes excessive costs, exceeds agency authority or is redundant. On Friday, House lawmakers voted to zap the federal methane rule that requires oil and gas companies using public lands to control air pollution.

The BLM and methane-flaring measures now move to the Senate. If the rollbacks are approved, the rules would be eliminated and the BLM banned indefinitely from developing similar rules.

Last week, Congress killed the Stream Protection Act that required efforts to protect waterways near coal mines.

For Colorado, the impact of a rollback of the BLM planning rule is potentially huge. BLM officials developed the rule saying it would increase public involvement and incorporate the most current data and technology to decide whether and where drilling, mining and logging will happen on public land...

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