03.07.17

Gardner Rejects Washington’s One-Size-Fits-All Approach to Land Management

Washington, D.C. – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) today released the below statement following his vote of disapproval of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Planning 2.0 Rule:

“The final BLM Planning 2.0 Rule is an example of Washington’s failed one-size-fits-all approach to policymaking and highlights how little Washington bureaucrats understand the way of the West. My goal has always been to bring more of Colorado to Washington and less Washington to Colorado, and I supported repealing this regulation because it begins to move this country away from a ‘Washington-knows-best’ mentality. I remain open to working with my colleagues from both parties, along with Secretary Zinke, to improve land management and update policies at the BLM that provide more flexibility to Colorado and the West.” 

Click here to view Senator Gardner’s remarks on the Senate floor.

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Mr. President, I rise today to speak on the Bureau of Land Management’s Planning 2.0 Rule, and my support for using the Congressional Review Act for this Rule.

The BLM administers 245 million acres of public land, located primarily in the 12 Western States.

The final BLM Planning 2.0 Rule is an example of how little Washington bureaucrats understand the way of the West and how a one-size fits all approach to federal policymaking does not work for Western States.

In fact, it is the promulgation of this Rule that I began my call to relocate the BLM headquarters to the West.

Putting BLM headquarters in the West, like Grand Junction, Colorado, would absolutely result in better policies that work on the ground for our Governors, our county commissioners, our farmers, cattlemen, ranchers, energy producers, sportsmen and recreationalists. 

I hope that we can move this country away from a ‘Washington knows best’ mentality and that is exactly what the Congressional Review Act would do, and that is why I intend to support using this tool on the BLM Planning 2.0 Rule.

As it stands, I cannot allow this Rule to move forward.

I have committed to my constituents that I will always have a goal to put more Colorado in Washington versus Washington in Colorado.  

A county commissioner in Western Colorado – from Dolores, Garfield, Grand, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Jackson, Mesa, Moffat, Montezuma, Montrose or Rio Blanco County – should have more say in decisions impacting their backyard on BLM lands than someone sitting behind a desk in New York City.

I firmly believe Colorado state and local leaders and local users should have a strong voice on local land management decisions.

I also firmly believe in managing our public lands under the multiple use philosophy, which promotes recreation, grazing, and energy development with a balanced approach. 

If the Congressional Review Act on the BLM Planning 2.0 Rule is signed into law, there is still an opportunity to improve management and update policies at the BLM.

I have told the many recreationalists and sportsmen in Colorado that I am open to working with Democratic colleagues and Secretary Zinke at the Department of the Interior on how we can move forward with land management decisions and land use plans.  

There are updates and modifications that can be achieved, but they should have all stakeholder input.  

Working with some land users cannot be at the expense of others and right now our cattlemen, farmers, ranchers, and county commissioners have severe concerns with BLM Planning 2.0 and feel as though they did not have a voice in this Rule.  

Mr. President, we can do better as elected officials and give them that voice moving forward – we move forward together.  

That is why I intend to support the Congressional Review Act on the BLM Planning 2.0 Rule.

With that, Mr. President, I yield the floor.

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Budget Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy.

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