Daines: Restore Montana Commonsense to Land Management

U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senator Steve Daines today applauded the U.S. Senate passage of a resolution to undo an Obama administration rule that fundamentally changed the land planning process. The rule shifted the planning and decision-making away from those closest to the land, away from Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regional and field offices, and back to BLM headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Click HERE to watch Daines’ remarks.

Click HERE to download Daines’ floor remarks.

“For too long, the Obama administration ignored the commonsense of those who manage the land and our natural resources,” Daines stated. “Now, is the time for that power to be put back in the hands of those who know it best.”pre

This rule took effect on January 11, 2017, overhauls BLM’s existing policies for the development of RMPs. Unfortunately, vital feedback was disregarded during the rulemaking process, leaving a final rule with a series of fatal flaws that will compound its negative impacts:

  • Planning 2.0 transitions to a ‘landscape level approach’ to land management planning, which will enable BLM to reduce or eliminate many reasonable uses of public land.
  • Planning 2.0 removes decision-making authority from BLM field offices and state directors, instead centralizing it away from local expertise at BLM headquarters in Washington, DC.
  • Planning 2.0 diminishes the ability of local stakeholders to provide input into the planning process, reducing the influence of those who actually live near and rely on western federal lands.
  • Planning 2.0 weakens or eliminates requirements in FLPMA to coordinate planning and resource uses with state and local governments and ensure RMPs are consistent with state and local government plans. 

Ultimately, the Planning 2.0 rule will harm grazing, energy and mineral development, and other reasonable uses of public land, threatening the viability of local economies in western states. 

Montana Farm Bureau Federation, President, Hans McPherson: “MFBF had some real concerns about the BLM Planning 2.0 Rule including its devaluation of local input from planning processes, diminishment of the statutory requirements of multiple use and it’s potential to dismantle the cooperative ideals of Federalism.  We applaud Senator Daines’ efforts to repeal this harmful rule, protecting the interests of Montanans.” 

Errol Rice, Executive Director for Montana Stockgrowers Association: “Thanks to Senator Daines for voting to stop this unnecessary rule and protecting Montana ranchers’ ability to put forth input as a qualified stakeholder into BLM’s planning decisions.”

Dave Wheelihan, CEO of the Montana Electric Cooperatives’ Association: “We are pleased the Senate has passed H.J. Res. 44. At the very least, this rule would have diminished local decisions on land management in our state, placing at risk our ability as electric cooperatives to deliver affordable, reliable power to rural Montana. We look forward to this resolution being signed by the President.”

Tammy Johnson, MMA’s Executive Director: “Montana Mining Association applauds the passage of HJ Res. 44 to negate the clear overreach of BLM authority with its Planning 2.0 rule. On behalf of our membership, we thank Senator Daines for his leadership on this issue.” 

Todd Devlin, President, Montana Association of Counties: “The Montana Association of Counties (MACo) is pleased that Senator Daines and other supporters recognized that BLM Planning 2.0 was a detriment to local governments input on BLM’s land use planning process.  MACo is also thankful that Senator Daines helped to overturn a rule that weakened the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 which gives special status to states, local governments, and tribes during the planning process.” 

Alan Olson, Executive Director, Montana Petroleum Association: “On behalf of nearly two hundred businesses working in the oil and gas industry, the Montana Petroleum Association applauds Senator Steve Daines for supporting the disapproval of the Planning 2.0 Initiative proposed by Obama’s Bureau of Land Management.”

Click here to download MPA’s full letter of support.