Gov. Gordon Testifies on Capitol Hill, Calls Proposed Conservation Rule “Boneheaded”
On Thursday morning, Governor Mark Gordon testified to the House Committee on Natural Resources to withdraw a rule proposed by the BLM's Conservation and Landscape Health department.
The Federal Register, in summary, says the proposed rule would apply land health standards to all BLM-managed public lands and uses, and turn conservation over to the federal government's "multiple-use framework." It aims to revise existing regulations to "better meet" federal standards of conservation.
Gordon believes the proposed rule oversteps the federal agency's authority while undermining the role that states play in developing management plans for public lands.
“Let me say, my administration values the relationships we have with Wyoming BLM staff," said Gordon, "which is why it seems so boneheaded to spurn valuable, on-the-ground stakeholder knowledge and the ability to work with local partners to craft a useful way forward. Wildlife management is the responsibility and squarely within the authority and purview of the states – not the federal Government.”
The BLM held in-person information sessions in Denver,Albuquerque and Reno, in which the public could ask questions but not provide public testimony. During the Committee hearing, Representative Hageman noted many rural states, like Wyoming’s, were virtually silenced, prompting her to ask Governor Gordon why, in his opinion, town halls were held in New Mexico and Colorado but not Wyoming.
Governor Gordon responded, “It is clear they are avoiding having real testimony on the ground with real practitioners of conservation. They are looking for communities where they can find a favorable audience so they [BLM] can move things forward.”
Explaining his frustration at the snub from Washington, DC BLM, Governor Gordon went on to say, “Wyoming ranchers, industries, and sportsmen are conservation-minded. We have successfully managed the nation's largest population of Greater Sage-grouse because we have the nation’s best habitat.”
BLM Principal Deputy Director Nada Wolff Culver testified that the BLM is extending public comment for an additional 15 days.
“Extending the comment period for a mere 15 days seems like closing the gate after all but one cow is out of the corral,” responded Governor Gordon.
Watch the full meeting below.