ALERT! Last Minute Effort by Bushies to Undermine Land Protection

Spread the word-and watch for this! Bush cronies will-like George Sr. did-use these last months in office to throw as much of the public trust to the timber, mining, drilling, cattle, & building interests as possible. Couple that w/ McCain/Palin’s fetish for oil & gas, & Obama’s fascination w/ coal & nuke power-& we could have a big problem on our hands!

I got this from the Western Shoshone Defense Project-who battles nuke & mineral outfits constantly…

ASW

While we’re all watching the ads and debates and wall street woes —
what is really happening to our lands and resources?

News From Representative Raúl M. Grijalva
7th Congressional District of Arizona

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 9, 2008
Contact: Natalie Luna (520) 622-6788 office
(520) 904-0375 cell

Chairman Grijalva Denounces Bush Interior Department’s Last Minute Effort to Strip Congress of Power to Protect Public Lands

Tucson, AZ–Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced it will rescind a regulation that allows two congressional committees to withdraw public lands from mining and other extractive activities in
emergencies.

The BLM will published a notice tomorrow in the Federal Register to rescind the rule (43 C.F.R. 2310.5) that allows the House Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to notify the Secretary to withdraw certain lands in emergencies in order to give Congress the opportunity to determine whether permanent protection for the lands is warranted. The notice tomorrow will give the public only 15 days to comment and provides no environmental analysis of the impacts of the proposed action.

“It is clear that this last-minute move by the Bush Administration, put out right before a three-day weekend when Congress is not in session, is designed to undermine our effort to protect the Grand Canyon from
uranium mining and contamination,” stated Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. “For the last eight years, the Bush Administration has done everything in its power to reward its friends in industry who seek to exploit our public lands for mineral wealth, timber, etc. but this goes beyond the pale. Instead of giving Congress time to consider how to protect the crown jewel of our National Park system, the Grand Canyon, from the impacts of dangerous
and potentially life-threatening uranium mining, the Department is choosing instead to rush this regulation through, giving the public almost no time to comment.”

The emergency withdrawal authority has only rarely been used. It was previously used three times by Congressman Mo Udall to protect important lands that were under threat, and most recently when the House Natural Resources Committee, prompted by Grijalva, notified the Secretary to withdraw lands around Grand Canyon National Park from uranium mining. The Department has refused to comply with the emergency withdrawal notification thus far, allowing uranium mining to continue on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

“The Interior Department is being sued by environmental groups for failing to comply with its own regulations that require it to withdraw lands when notified to do so by the Committee on Natural Resources. Instead of following the law and their own regulations, they are attempting to throw out the rule, subverting the will of Congress and the people of the United States who want to see the Grand Canyon protected,” stated Grijalva.

###

Natalie Luna
Press Secretary
U.S. Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva
Arizona District 7
(520) 622-6788
(520) 904-0375 cell
http://grijalva.house.gov/ <http://grijalva.house.gov/>

—–Original Message—–
From: John Amos [mailto:John@skytruth.org]
Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2008 4:42 PM
To: WMAN
Subject: [wman] BLM Announces New Rule for Land Withdrawals

From another listserv; looks like bad news – John

Sean Babington wrote:

As I understand it, Section 204(e) of FLPMA allows the Secretary of the Interior, the House Natural Resources Committee, or the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to withdraw BLM lands if an emergency
situation exists where values would be lost. This would appear to remove that provision.

As that provision has rarely been used, this proposed rule from BLM seems to be a direct reaction to the House Natural Resources committee utilizing Section 204(e) in June to withdraw lands around the Grand Canyon from uranium mining.

—–Original Message—–

Any input on what this means to us greenies would be appreciated…

Bureau of Land Management
For Immediate Release- October 9, 2008

Contact:  Jill Moran (202-452-5068)
Chris Paolino (202-208-6416)

BLM Announces New Rule for Land Withdrawals

The Bureau of Land Management will publish Friday, October 10 in the Federal Register a proposed rule to eliminate existing regulations providing for the emergency withdrawal of lands leaving in place the existing, more conventional withdrawal provisions that exempt BLM-managed lands from the operation of various public land laws. A 15-day public comment period on the regulatory proposal starts October 10.

Under Section 204(e) of the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act and current BLM regulations providing for emergency withdrawals, 43 CFR 2310.5, the Secretary of the Interior must withdraw lands immediately upon determining that an emergency exists and that extraordinary measures need to be taken to protect natural resources or resource values that otherwise would be lost. The statute and regulations also provide that the Secretary must follow the same course if a similar determination is made by either of two congressional committees specified in Section 204(e) and appropriate notification is made by that Committee to the Secretary. Since at least 1981, questions have been raised concerning the constitutionality of the Congressional Committee notification provision of Section 204(e).

Because conventional land withdrawal procedures provide for immediate segregation of the subject lands for two years upon publication of a Federal Register notice, which must be within 30 days after a withdrawal
application is received and immediately upon approval of a withdrawal petition, the BLM has noted in the past and continues to believe the emergency procedure to be unnecessary. Like a withdrawal, segregation
removes the lands from the operation of the public land laws, including the mining laws. Contrary to its implication, the procedures for issuing an emergency withdrawal order do not result in the protection of public lands more rapidly than the completion of a more conventional withdrawal process. Conventional withdrawals of public lands, as necessary and appropriate, will continue.

Under conventional withdrawal procedures, the BLM considers ownership and other legally recognized interests by allowing public participation in the decision-making process as well as coordination with other federal bureaus. “The BLM recognizes that unique circumstances may arise requiring the withdrawal of land from particular activities in order to preserve resources and values that need immediate protection,” said BLM Director Jim Caswell. “We remain committed to working closely with States, local governments, and other stakeholders in the timely withdrawal of land under such critical circumstances.”

By eliminating the emergency option from BLM regulations, the Bureau is removing a procedure that it views as not only redundant, but also a potential impediment to the resolution of the constitutional dispute. The action supports the BLM’s mission by allowing the agency to maintain its focus on effective management practices that support healthy and productive public lands.

The BLM manages more land-258 million acres-than any other Federal agency.  Most of this public land is located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.
– BLM –

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