BLM Extends Comment Period on Proposed Regulation to July 5: E&E News Story

Thanks to Rebecca Watson for clearing this up.. indeed the BLM has extended the time period for comments.  There’s a great deal that can be said about this regulation, so I’m very glad they did this.

From E&E News..I’m sure there is partisan disagreement, but as I said in the previous post,the renewable energy industry also has concerns. And aren’t we all for “robust public involvement”?

At the end there’s a quote from Kathleen Sgamma saying it should’ve been an ANPR… Let’s see, what Department put out an ANPR AND extended their comment period for 30 days?  I suppose they’ll also have a better array of public meetings when it comes time for the actual rulemaking.  Way to go, USDA!!!

BLM offers extra comment time on public lands rule

E&E NEWS PM | The Bureau of Land Management has agreed to give the public until next month to weigh in on a hotly debated draft public lands rule that has sparked fierce partisan debate over the proposal’s emphasis on conservation in the face of increasing threats from climate warming.

BLM announced Thursday it is extending the 75-day public comment period, set to run through June 20, by 15 days, or until July 5.

The draft rule, which BLM unveiled in March, is designed to protect and restore rangelands so that they are able to be used in the future for multiple purposes in the face of a warming climate that has sparked drought conditions and extreme wildfires across the West.

But the proposed rule has stirred concern among various stakeholders, particularly congressional Republicans, who say it is a veiled attempt by the Biden administration to remove potentially millions of acres from public use in the name of conservation.

To date, more than 121,000 comments have been submitted to BLM, according to

“The proposed Public Lands Rule is essential to our work, to ensuring we can respond to changes on the landscape,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning.

“We appreciate the useful public input we’ve already received through five public meetings and the first 75 days of the comment period,” Stone-Manning added. “This extension will allow us to continue to work with the public to make sure that the final rule is durable and effective.”

Interested parties, including the ranching industry and congressional Republicans, pressed Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and BLM to extend the deadline, and to hold additional public hearings in more rural areas to allow more landowners to comment on the draft rule.

But some were disappointed Interior extended the comment period just 15 days.

The Public Lands Council, a ranching industry trade group, requested a much longer extension.

“While we appreciate the additional 15 days, it seems unlikely that two extra weeks over a holiday will give BLM time to facilitate the kind of dialogue needed to address the mountain of concerns that have already been expressed on the rule,” said Kaitlynn Glover, PLC’s executive director. “We are disappointed that BLM doesn’t appear to have taken our request for more meetings and a full 180 days to comment seriously, but we remain committed to leading the conversation to ensure this rule doesn’t destroy federal land management in the West.”

BLM is working to finalize the rule by the end of the year, according to the spring Unified Agenda the White House released Wednesday.

The announcement that BLM would extend the public comment deadline came just hours after a contentious, hourslong House Natural Resources Committee hearing during which Republicans sharply criticized the rule.

The legislative hearing Thursday featured only Utah Republican Rep. John Curtis’ H.R. 3397, which would require BLM to withdraw the rule and “not take any action to finalize, implement, or enforce the proposed rule.”

Congressional Republicans, who had previously asked Haaland for a 75-day public comment period extension, weren’t enthusiastic about the extension either.

“Given the level of resounding opposition we heard at our hearing today and for weeks prior, extending a comment period by only 15 days does not even begin to address our concerns,” according to a statement from Natural Resources Republicans.

Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Denver-based Western Energy Alliance, an oil and gas industry trade group, said the extension “is helpful for finishing up our comments, but this shouldn’t even have been a proposed rule at this time.”

Sgamma testified at Thursday’s Natural Resources legislative hearing against the proposal.

“As I said in my testimony, there are so many nebulous concepts and more questions than answers that this should have been an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking or request for information at this stage,” she said. “This rule is in no way going to be ready to be finalized as the next stage.”





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