The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has sorted out its priorities, and they include fossil fuel development and securing the U.S.-Mexico border.
This is per a leaked “priority work” list obtained by E&E News and published yesterday (April 10). Administrators with the federal agency wrote the list “to clearly lay out our continued commitment to ensure opportunities for commercial, recreation and conservation activities on BLM-managed lands,” said agency spokeswoman Megan Crandall to E&E. The list is broken down into five categories:
- “Making America Safe Through Energy Independence,” a claim that achieving energy independence involves approving more applications for coal mining and drilling permits, streamlining coal leasing and making more land available for energy development.
- “Making America Great Through Shared Conservation Stewardship,” which includes conservation and specifically mentions the preservation of wild horses and burros on public lands and the creation of more volunteer service opportunities.
- “Making America Safe - Restoring Our Sovereignty” claims that coordinating with law enforcement, local communities and the Department of Defense will enhance employee and public safety and southern border actions.
- “Getting America Back to Work” advocates increasing opportunities for veterans and youth to work on public lands, creating jobs through fossil fuel and mineral development and speeding up the process of completing energy projects on public land.
- “Serving the American Family” gets at creating a “capable, ethical and diverse professional workforce” and building better relationships with states and local communities. It is the only section to explicitly mention tribal communities but only so far in the agency’s duty to “fulfill [its] trust responsibilities.”
This leaked document places an emphasis on fossil fuel development, a move that strays from the former administration’s strategy of increasing renewable energy development to combat climate change.
The agency’s priorities are, however, in line with what President Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail, including a revived coal industry, less government oversight in energy projects (like the Dakota Access or Keystone XL pipelines) and increasing jobs. Critics say these priorities ignore the urgent need to meaningfully address climate change.