Western Caucus Members Introduce Legislation to Stop the Biden Administration’s Land Grab

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04) joined Western Caucus Vice Chair John Curtis (UT-03) and Rep. Russ Fulcher (ID-01) in introducing legislation alongside 10 of their Western Caucus colleagues to direct the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to withdraw the proposed rule titled “Conservation and Landscape Health.” This rule undermines FLPMA’s multiple-use requirement for BLM lands and would hinder access to public lands for energy and critical mineral development, grazing, forest management, and recreation. With more than 90% of BLM’s 245 million acres located in the West, the rule would have an outsized effect on Western states and their residents.

“In the West, we know locking up lands with preservationist designations does not automatically guarantee healthy landscapes. In fact, the opposite is often the case,” said Chairman Newhouse. “Farmers and ranchers are the best stewards of the land, not bureaucrats in Washington who seek to hamper our land managers’ ability to conserve the land they rely on for their livelihoods. The BLM has time and again shown their aim is to drastically reduce, or even eliminate, grazing on public lands, and this proposed rule is the latest iteration of this effort. I am proud to introduce legislation to rescind it.”

“The BLM’s proposed rule would undermine the livelihoods of Utah’s farmers, ranchers, recreation businesses, and more,” said Vice Chair Curtis. “In a state that has so much natural beauty to share, this rule attempts to lock up those precious lands that should be open and accessible to the public.”

“The Bureau of Land Management’s proposed rule ignores Congressional input as well as those of sportsmen and Tribes, whose access to certain federal lands could be restricted if the rule goes into effect,” said Rep. Fulcher. “BLM, under the Interior Department, should be prioritizing proper management of high-risk fire areas and leasing on federal lands so we can secure American energy independence. This rule only undermines these goals.”

Original sponsors of the legislation include Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Vice Chairs John Curtis (UT-03), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Mark Amodei (NV-02), Pete Stauber (MN-08), and Chris Stewart (UT-02), as well as Western Caucus Members Russ Fulcher (ID-01), Harriet Hageman (WY-AL), Paul Gosar (AZ-09), Blake Moore (UT-01), Burgess Owens (UT-04), Cliff Bentz (OR-02), and Ryan Zinke (MT-01).

Read the full text of H.R. 3397 here.


  • Yesterday, Chairman Newhouse and Senate Western Caucus Chair Cynthia Lummis sent a letter to BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning to point out how the new rule would lock up public land and hurt local communities and request the BLM extend their public comment period to a minimum of 120 days to hear from people across the west about the impacts of the new rule.
  • BLM’s proposed rule subverts the Congressional “multiple-use” mandate—established by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act—that federal land and its resources must be utilized for various purposes to “best meet the needs of the people." By enacting a restrictive framework for ‘conservation leases,’ the rule threatens access to federal lands for other critical purposes such as grazing, mining, outdoor recreation, and energy development projects while giving conservation lease holders the power to prevent access to public lands.

  • Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mike Lee (R-Utah), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and Senate Western Caucus Chairwoman Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

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