Despite far reaching opposition to previous attempts to establish de-facto wilderness areas, the DOI is yet again looking for ways to apply strict land management practices to federal lands without officially the lands being identified and designated through regular order. In the new guidance manuals, the DOI has carefully outlined how BLM employees should apply new land management practices that essentially create de-facto wilderness areas. Many of the directives use language taken directly from the controversial and widely opposed Wild Lands initiative and unfairly stack the deck against multiple-use management.
"Once again, the Obama Administration shows its ‘Washington knows best’ mentality,” Hatch said. “Even though these proposals have already been overwhelmingly rejected, the Administration is attempting to administratively put these policies in place. This proposal will give Washington bureaucrats more control over the lands in Utah and across the West. It’s wrong, and the Interior Department needs to stop trying to keep the public off public lands,” said Senator Hatch.
“I am troubled and angered by similarities found between the contents of the hand books and the defunct Wild Lands proposal. This is clearly an effort to establish ‘Wild Lands 2.0’ and abandons all previous commitments Secretary Salazar made to me and many other western Members to work openly and collaboratively on new land management practices. Excerpts within these handbooks clearly depict a thinly veiled effort on behalf of this Administration to further limit access to our nation’s public lands. I expect a prompt response from Secretary Salazar and will continue to pursue this issue to ensure that the livelihoods of westerners are protected,” said Congressman Bishop.