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Audubon Denounces Congressional Action to Undo BLM Rule Elevating Conservation on Public Lands 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    

(WASHINGTON D.C.-April 30, 2024) – The National Audubon Society denounced draft legislation approved by the House of Representatives today that would nullify a long-overdue update to how the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oversees millions of acres of public lands. House Resolution (H.R.) 3397 cleared the House by a vote of 212-202. It would block implementation of a newly finalized rule that balances conservation with multiple uses on millions of acres of public lands, making them more resilient to drought, wildfires and other effects of climate change. Lawmakers plan to introduce similar legislation in the Senate.  

“We are extremely disappointed to see such a knee-jerk, short-sighted response by the House of Representatives to undo a rule that was thoroughly and thoughtfully developed after extensive public and stakeholder input, and that reflects westerners’ overwhelming support for balanced management of our public lands,” said Felice Stadler, National Audubon Society vice president of government affairs. “Today’s action by Congress is an end-run around how westerners themselves would like to see these lands managed.”  

Support for conservation is broad and bipartisan in the Intermountain West: 82 percent of voters support a national goal of conserving America’s lands and waters over the next decade, including over two-thirds of conservative Republican voters. Four in five voters also say loss of open natural areas is a problem across the West.    

“This resolution shows undue favor to resource extractive interests, to the exclusion of all others and to the ultimate detriment of the lands cherished by generations of westerners,” said Stadler. “More than 300 bird species and countless other types of wildlife rely on public lands for their survival. So do countless communities across the western United States, who depend on the dollars that tourists, hunters, anglers and others spend in their businesses.” 

The BLM has traditionally favored extractive uses on public lands, such as oil, gas and mining. The recent public lands rule establishes a framework to ensure that extraction is balanced responsibly with conservation — including restoration and stewardship of intact landscapes, sensitive wildlife habitat, cultural lands protection, and access to nature – consistent with the Agency’s statutory mandates.  

Nearly 245 million acres, almost 40 percent of U.S. public lands, are overseen by BLM, including rolling sagebrush hills, desert expanses, Alaskan tundra and vibrant river corridors. Thes lands provide economic benefits to neighboring communities through recreation and tourism.   

An overwhelming 92 percent of public comments submitted supported the new BLM conservation rule – including comments from more than 14,000 Audubon members and 194 independent Audubon chapters from 41 states.   

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CONTACT:   Jason Howe, [email protected]; 415-595-9245  

About Audubon   The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety. 

 

 

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