Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held a public meeting in Denver, Colorado to solicit questions and feedback on BLM’s Planning 2.0 process. This initiative aims to modernize BLM’s approach to land use planning by increasing public involvement and using the most up-to-date technologies and data to inform decisions when developing public lands
As management of public lands in the West is becoming increasingly complex because of a growing population, increasing demands for energy, and diversifying groups using public lands, conflicts between resource development, conservation goals, and recreational use are increasing. As a result, the BLM is modernizing their approach to public lands management by implementing landscape-level planning, improving responsiveness to social and environmental changes, and fostering collaboration with members of the public, other federal agencies, tribes, and state and local governments.
One important topic of interest to the BLM is whether to include Master Leasing Plans (MLPs) in the Planning 2.0 process.
These leasing plans provide a landscape-level approach to energy development that also ensures all stakeholders are at the table during the planning process. These seemingly simple ideas result in balanced development plans, which are guided by local voices and ensure the economic benefits of several industries are when developing public resources.
Oil and gas companies, hunters and anglers, farmers and ranchers, recreationalists, and the businesses and outfitters that are supported by these activities all get their say in how an area is developed.
These planning tools enjoy a broad berth of bipartisan support. The MLP in South Park, Colorado is just one example of how this planning process can result in successful land management and simultaneous oil and gas development. And locally elected leaders, both Republicans and Democrats alike, see the benefits of MLPs and support their use when considering which energy reserves to develop.
Today, members of the public heard details of BLM’s Planning 2.0 process, had group discussions on key aspects of the plan, and weighed in with comments and questions. One reoccurring theme was the people’s desires to be included in BLM’s planning process, have more opportunities to submit feedback, and have access to data, literature, and notifications regarding plans. Today’s hearing unequivocally showed both BLM managers and American citizens just how paramount public involvement is to successfully managing our public lands.