BILLINGS, Mont. – The Latest on an overhaul of federal land-use planning for almost 250 million acres in the U.S. West (all times local):
A U.S. Senator from Wyoming says he’ll seek to reverse changes in how government officials plan for development across almost 250 million acres of public lands.
The Obama administration announced Thursday an overhaul to an often-cumbersome process that dictates oil and gas drilling, grazing and other activities on lands administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
The administration says its new rule will increase public involvement and government transparency.
But Sen. John Barrasso predicted it will take away authority from locally based government workers and increase the influence of officials in Washington, D.C.
The Republican lawmaker said he would work with President-elect Donald Trump to reverse the regulation.
U.S. government officials have overhauled how they plan for oil and gas drilling, mining, grazing and other activities across public lands in the West.
Bureau of Land Management Deputy Director Linda Lance told The Associated Press that the move announced Thursday increases public involvement in land-use plans that dictate development across almost 250 million acres in 12 Western states and the Dakotas.
Some members of Congress, industry groups and local officials have criticized the overhaul. They say it prioritizes preservation above energy development and other uses and shifts decision-making to Washington.
Among the changes, alternatives for development would be offered at the front-end of planning instead of well into the process.
Lance says the changes could shave years off a process that currently averages eight years.
The overhaul updates regulations adopted in 1979.