For a more detailed background please see my article “Wildlands v. Wilderness: NOT just semantics.”
Back in December of 2010 Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar issued order 3310 to his Bureau of Land Management director Bob Abbey. This order would designate many areas previously labeled as “wilderness” as “wildlands” and would impose the most strict land use, however Congress is the only entity which can make that designation and Salazar certainly circumvented it.
Ranchers, governors and businesses were extremely fearful Salazar’s “order” would have not only threatened present land use but future land use as well.
After being grilled back in March by House Natural Resource Committee Chair Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) Abbey admitted he had no statutory authority to do this.
On April 14, 20 II, the United States Congress passed the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 201 1 (Pub. L. 1 12-1 0)(20 1 1 CR), which includes a provision (Section 1769) that prohibits the use of appropriated funds to implement, administer, or enforce Secretarial Order 3310 in Fiscal Year 2011.
In a memo dated June 1, 2011, Salazar stated to the director of the BLM:
I am confirming today that, pursuant to the 20 II CR, the BLM will not designate any lands as “Wild Lands.”
In an email to me, Chairman Hastings issued this statement:
â€œItâ€™s welcome news that the Interior Department will follow the law. After this positive initial step of halting the â€˜Wild Landsâ€™ order, weâ€™ll be taking a close look at how the Administration proceeds. Congressional oversight has served a vital role in this entire process and the Committeeâ€™s active oversight on this matter will continue. Attempts to prohibit forms of public access, block job-creating activities and manage land as wilderness, even though they havenâ€™t been designated as such by Congress, will be met with a strong reaction by this Committee. Itâ€™s important that BLM maintains this new promise of an open process, through conversations with interested parties, states, and Congress.â€
This victory on the surface may appear small, but it is actually very huge. It means a major government “land/power grab” didn’t happen.
Thank you Chairman Hastings and your Committee for all your hard work.
Crossposted at Conservative Outlooks