The Interior Department has updated a rule that governs activities like ranching, mining and gas drilling on federal land. Obama Administration officials say they aim to simplify the process for land development, while building in more transparency and public input.
But to some energy industry groups and western state politicians, the timing of the rule update is concerning. According to the Associated Press, Wyoming senator John Barrasso is concerned the change will mean policy decisions shift from local BLM field offices to D.C. Since it’s a rule update, it doesn’t need congressional approval. Barrasso says he plans to lobby President-elect Donald Trump to reverse the rule once he’s in office.
The 11th hour rule update comes as the direction of energy development and wildlife issues in the next administration remain unclear. Trump has yet to announce his pick to head key public land management agencies.
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