December 23, 2020

Can BLM remove NEPA from land use planning?

Tyler Welti and Nada Culver

The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) organic act, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), charges the agency with managing public lands on the basis of “multiple use and sustained yield.” As the U.S. Supreme Court explained in Norton v. Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA), “‘[m]ultiple use management’ is a deceptively simple term that describes the enormously complicated task of striking a balance among the many competing uses to which land can be put, ‘including, but not limited to, recreation, range, timber, minerals, watershed, wildlife and fish, and [uses serving] natural scenic, scientific and historical values.’” To guide this balancing act, BLM develops blueprints for land management, known as resource management plans (RMPs), with public involvement and detailed environmental review pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

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