April 10, 2023

Proposed Rule Would Put Conservation on Equal Footing with Other Federal Land Uses

Holland & Knight Eyes on Washington Blog
Jim Noe
U.S. Capitol Building

Conservation and restoration activities on federal lands could gain equal footing with grazing, mining and energy production following the publication of a proposed rule by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on April 3, 2023 in the Federal Register. The Proposed Rule anticipates several policy changes that would give greater weight to conservation and restoration efforts, including introducing a "conservation leasing" activity that establishes that conservation and restoration are an acceptable use of federal lands on equal footing with any other use, such as mining, oil and gas and grazing uses.

The time-limited conservation leases would allow parties to lease federal lands for specific restoration or "mitigation" activities on those lands. BLM noted that the "conservation leases" would not preempt existing traditional leases or get in the way with subsequent use authorizations "so long as those subsequent authorizations are compatible with the conversation use." The BLM also stated that the conservation leases would not be valued more than other uses, but the Proposed Rule elevates and further legitimizes conservation and restoration activity as an equally important use of federal lands.

Environmental and industry groups are expected to provide extensive comments to the Proposed Rule, which are due by June 20, 2023.

For additional information, please contact Jim Noe.

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