Western Caucus Members Applaud Trump’s Signing of Bill that Returns Land-Use Decisions to States and Local Entities
Today, Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul A. Gosar D.D.S. (AZ-04), Executive Vice-Chairman Rep. Scott Tipton (CO-03), Chief Defense and Interior Officer Rep. Chris Stewart (UT-02), Chief Infrastructure and Forestry Officer Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-04), Chairman Emeritus Rep. Steve Pearce (NM-02) and Western Caucus members Rep. Liz Cheney (WY-At Large) and Rep. Pete Sessions (TX-32) released the following statements after President Donald Trump signed H.J. Res. 44 into law, legislation that nullifies the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Planning 2.0 Rule:
“I am proud to see H.J. Res 44, overturning BLM Planning 2.0., signed into law today by President Trump. The rule we overturn today would have had far reaching and damaging implications on public lands and our economy in Wyoming. Planning 2.0 would have given the federal government and radical environmental groups control over land use and resource planning in our state, at the expense of local officials and stakeholders,” Rep. Cheney said.
“The Obama Administration’s Planning 2.0 Rule severly missed the mark and attempted to silence the voices of state and local governments whose input on public land use and conservation efforts is essential to good stewardship,” said Chairman Gosar. “By signing H.J. Res. 44 into law, President Trump prevented another top-down Washington mandate and ensured that people whose lives are most impacted by these requirements are able to be heard. Local planning decisions are best made in coordination with local stakeholders. I applaud Rep. Cheney and the countless other members of the Western Caucus who were instrumental in blocking this overreach.”
Congressman Tipton said, “The final BLM Planning 2.0 Rule diminished the role that state and local governments, whose communities are most directly impacted, have historically played in the land management planning process. Important land management decisions should be made by the people who know the land best – not unelected Washington bureaucrats. With the signing of H.J.Res. 44, the president has delivered an important victory for the West today.”
"I applaud today’s signing of H.J. Res 44, making the critical and necessary move to roll back the BLM Planning 2.0 Rule. This rule ignored thousands of meaningful comments submitted by state and local officials. By signing this resolution of disapproval, President Trump is returning power back to the states and local communities,” said Congressman Stewart.
“The Bureau of Land Management’s Planning 2.0 Rule was an attempt to write out state and local governments from the land management planning process. The rule would have reduced the federal coordination and consistent application of federal regulations with local regulations. This top-down, Washington knows best approach has not worked, and it would only continue hamstring our ability to properly manage public lands, and create even more bad will between local governments and the federal government,” said Congressman Westerman. “I thank Congresswoman Cheney for introducing this CRA and President Trump for understanding the impact the BLM 2.0 rule would have been detrimental to local government involvement in public lands management.”
Congressman Sessions remarked, “Today we stopped a misguided rule from the Obama Administration that strips key planning decisions away from local communities and places control in the hands of bureaucrats in Washington. I was proud to be a part of the signing ceremony at the White House this afternoon and I wholeheartedly support President Trump’s efforts to roll back these Obama-era regulations and restore state and local control.”
On December 12, 2016 the Obama Administration published another overreaching “midnight regulation” in the form of the BLM’s new Resource Management Rule, commonly referred to as BLM’s Planning 2.0 Rule.
H.J. Res 44, a joint resolution introduced by Rep. Liz Cheney (WY-At Large), utilizes the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to disapprove and nullify BLM’s Planning 2.0 Rule. The House passed H.J. Res. 44 by a bipartisan vote of 234-186 on February 7, 2017 and the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 51-48 on March 7, 2017.
The Congressional Review Act, a law enacted in 1996, requires a simple majority in both Houses as well as a signature by the president and uses expedited procedures that allow for nullification of an entire regulation through a joint resolution that cannot be filibustered. The CRA prevents the rule from continuing in effect and also prevents a substantially similar rule from being reissued. The parliamentarian has advised that all rules submitted during the 114th Congress on or after June 13, 2016, are eligible for review under the Congressional Review Act.
The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 established a process that requires the BLM to develop RMPs in cooperation with state, local and tribal governments. RMPs are typically updated every seven years and determine what actions can take place on BLM land. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, “247.3 million acres of public land and administers about 700 million acres of federal subsurface mineral estate throughout the nation.”