Invoking the rarely used Congressional Review Act (CRA), the U.S. House just passed a measure to eliminate the Bureau of Land Management’s recently revised planning rule, commonly known as Planning 2.0. Using the CRA to abolish Planning 2.0 is like using a sledgehammer when all you need is a scalpel. As the measure heads to the Senate, it would be wise for U.S. Sen. Steve Daines to consider his vote carefully, and here’s why:
Using the CRA to eliminate the BLM’s revised planning process reverts us back to an outdated, problematic and greatly unpopular planning rule from the early '80s. Even worse, this overkill approach would eliminate the agency’s ability to improve the planning process ever again. See, the CRA specifically prevents any new rules that are “substantially the same” from being adopted in the future. Given the nature of planning regulations, it would be difficult to envision any beneficial planning rules that would be substantially different from what’s currently included, leaving us stuck with an unpopular process from decades ago.
This improved planning process is the product of two and a half years of collaboration between the BLM, local governments and the public. The resulting method adds agency transparency and encourages public input on the management of public lands. Now Congress is working to eliminate these feedback opportunities and your voice.
If Daines feels there are parts of the plan that need to be addressed, there are better ways of doing this. Throwing years of collaborative progress out the window and leaving us stuck with a process that nobody wants is not the answer.
I encourage Daines to abandon the shotgun approach, vote no on this resolution to use the CRA to gut Planning 2.0, and let incoming Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke pick up his sharpshooter instead.
former project leader,
Charles M Russell
National Wildlife Refuge,