Land Law Review- Ideas Wanted On Improving Planning I. Overview

We are working on a presentation for the University of Colorado Law School summer conference on the need for a new land law review commission. The conference program is located here.

Our group has been assigned Chapters 3, 4 and 13 of the document “One Third of the Nation’s Land” the report of the previous Land Law Review Commission in 1970. It can be found here. The recommendations from the chapters can be found in this summary of recommendations.

Here are the questions we were given:

1 ) Given the recommendations, to what extent have they been followed, and how the circumstances may have changed since 1970?

2) Specific questions

1. Should the agencies zone for dominant uses as recommended in the report?
2. What is working and not working about multiple use and sustained yield in the agency planning process?
3. In a sense, the PLLRC recommended adding environmental quality as a recognized multiple use along with timber, grazing, mining, recreation, etc. Should the agencies expand their traditional understanding of multiple use to include environmental quality and the full suite of ecosystem services provided by the environment?

In our conversations on this blog and at the planning rule roundtables, the concept of multiple use seldom comes up. I would be interested in your ideas as to why that is the case, as well as your responses to the other questions.

3 thoughts on “Land Law Review- Ideas Wanted On Improving Planning I. Overview”

  1. I would dearly love to give a presentation on this, particularly after a stiff drink. Quick take:

    1. As a FS colleague used to say, “When in doubt, zone it out!”

    2. Sustained yield and multiple use: Watchwords from a bygone era.

    3. To whomever suggested “adding environmental quality as a recognized multiple use along with timber, grazing, mining, recreation, etc,” I ask: What planet are you from?” And “Have you ever read the principlal laws governing the management of the national forests?” “Have you studied the legislative (and other) history of the national forests?”

    These questions are a classic “setup” in the tradition of The Frame Game. Or maybe they were suggested to give the panel an easy target: a chance to rebuke them.

  2. We already have Forest Service “zoning” that trumps ALL resource values in favor of allowing “natural ignitions” to burn in “unnatural” forests. We need to force the fire management folks to deal with the problem of “narrowed vision” in their illegal “Let-Burn” program. One way of widening their vision would be NEPA compliance, instead of making the same mistakes over….and over….and over….and over. Oh, the arrogance of thinking they can “manage” fires of up to 100,000 acres, while telling the locals to chill out, saying that their fears are unfounded. Many western states have been heavily-impacted by the escalation of these fires that drain the local agencies of the already dwindling budgets.

  3. I’d like to say more about these topics Sharon, but it will have to wait.

    But a few initial thoughts:

    1) the place-based bills and agreements we’ve discussed here seem to share some commonalities when it comes to trying to achieve greater certainty via more pemanenent and stable land designations.

    Some of these bills and agreements are not unlike the dominant use discussion that went into the PLLRC Report, except that restoration priority areas are commonly identified.

    I also know that the idea of dominant use was opposed by an assortment of interests at the time, including members of the Bolle Report (and the Dean himself), who argued that we should actually try real multiple use management first (The Bolle Report started with the controversial statement that multiple use does not in fact exist as a governing principle on the Bitterroot). We’ve certainly come a long way from the Bitterroot controversy, but some interesting history nonetheless.

    3. As for environmental quality, similar language found its way into FLPMA (in the context of “permanent impairment”) and I’m not so sure it means all that much, compared to the Act’s more prescriptive provisions.

    Good luck!


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