Conservationists say BLM living up to its nickname: Bureau of Logging and Mining

Conservationists are concerned that the Bureau of Land Management does little to regulate oil, gas and mining companies on public lands.
Hovenweep National Monument.

Bureau of Land Management employees have begun to wear cards with oil rigs affixed to them, according to media reports. At first glance, the story appears like fake news, but Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility obtained images of the cards and gave them to The Washington Post.

The Post reported that it independently confirmed the distribution of the cards to BLM employees.

“While the BLM said wearing the cards was not mandatory, some employees said they felt pressured to do so,” The Post reported.

Another card has a picture of cowboys driving cattle.

Last week, The Post also reported that the BLM ignored National Park Service concerns over oil and gas drilling near Hovenweep National Monument.

Conservationists are concerned that the Bureau of Land Management does little to regulate oil, gas and mining companies on public lands.
Hovenweep National Monument.

The Park Service wrote in October that increased drilling could impact air quality, scenic views, soundscapes, traffic, water quality and dark skies. The Park Service pointed out that visitation to the monument has increased in recent years, and that visitation to BLM lands was up too.

Neither story seem to have not gotten much attention in the daily news cycle, but conservationists were not pleased.

The BLM is notoriously under-funded, and struggles to balance its multiple-use mandate, which means that the agency must allow mining, logging, grazing and outdoor recreation on its vast land holdings.

The agency receives criticism from just about everyone on the political spectrum, from Cliven Bundy’s sagebrush rebels to the Sierra Club. In the past, conservationists have nicknamed it the Bureau of Logging and Mining.

Adding to the agency’s struggle to please everyone, or anyone, is the fact that each new presidential administration may emphasize different parts of the multiple use mandate.

The “vision cards” with the oil rig are a “clear signal” of the Trump administration’s priorities, The Post reported.

It’s easy to drive by Hovenweep. There are a lot of places to explore in the area – Chaco Canyon, Durango, Bears Ears, Canyonlands, Arches and National Bridges.

The monument is located east of what was once Bears Ears National Monument, which was created by the Obama administration. The Trump administration reduced the size of Bears Ears late last year. Conservationists and tribes in the area have filed suit over the decision.

Conservationists are concerned that the Bureau of Land Management does little to regulate oil, gas and mining companies on public lands.
Hovenweep National Monument

 

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