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Bureau of Land Management

 

Bureau of Land Management

Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Land Management Triangle
Flag of the Bureau of Land Management
Agency overview
Formed 1946
Preceding agencies U.S. Grazing Service
General Land Office
Jurisdiction United States federal government
Headquarters 1849 C Street NW Room 5665, Washington, DC 20240
Employees 11,621 Permanent and 30,860 Volunteer (FY 2012)[1]
Annual budget $1,162,000,000 (FY 2014 operating)[1]
Agency executive Neil Kornze, Director
Parent agency U.S. Department of the Interior
Website blm.gov
Horses crossing a plain near the Simpson Park Wilderness Study Area in central Nevada, managed by the Battle Mountain BLM Field Office
Snow covered cliffs of Snake River Canyon, Idaho, managed by the Boise District of the BLM

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior that administers more than 247.3 million acres (1,001,000 km2) of public lands in the United States constituting one-eight of the landmass of the country.[2] President Harry S. Truman created the BLM in 1946 by combining two existing agencies— the General Land Office and the Grazing Service.[3] The agency in addition manages the federal government's nearly 700 million acres (2,800,000 km2) of subsurface mineral estate located beneath federal, state and private lands severed from their surface rights by the Homestead Act of 1862.[3] Most BLM public lands are located in one of 12 western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.[4]

The mission of the BLM is "to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations."[5] Originally BLM holdings were described as "land nobody wanted" because homesteaders had passed them by.[4] All the same, ranchers hold nearly 18,000 permits and leases for livestock grazing on 155 million acres (630,000 km2) of BLM public lands.[6] The agency manages 221 wilderness areas, 20 national monuments and some 636 other protected areas as part of the National Landscape Conservation System totaling about 30 million acres (120,000 km2).[7] There are more than 63,000 oil and gas wells on BLM public lands; total energy leases generated approximately $5.4 billion in 2013, an amount divided among the Treasury, the states and Native American groups.[8][9][2]

Contents

  • History 1
  • BLM Programs 2
  • National Landscape Conservation System 3
  • Law enforcement and security 4
  • Wild Horse and Burro Program 5
  • Renewable energy 6
  • Directors 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10

History

The BLM's roots go back to the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.[10] These laws provided for the survey and settlement of the lands that the original 13 colonies ceded to the federal government after the American Revolution.[10] As additional lands were acquired by the United States from Spain, France and other countries, the United States Congress directed that they be explored, surveyed, and made available for settlement.[10] During the Revolutionary War, military bounty land was promised to soldiers who fought for the colonies.[11] After the war, the Treaty of Paris of 1783, signed by the United States, England, France, and Spain, ceded territory to the United States.[12][13] In the 1780s, other states relinquished their own claims to land in modern-day Ohio.[14] By this time, the United States needed revenue to function.[15] Land was sold so that the government would have money to survive.[15] In order to sell the land, surveys needed to be conducted. The Land Ordinance of 1785 instructed a geographer to oversee this work as undertaken by a group of surveyors.[15] The first years of surveying were completed by trial and error; once the territory of Ohio had been surveyed, a modern public land survey system had been developed.[16] In 1812, Congress established the General Land Office as part of the Department of the Treasury to oversee the disposition of these federal lands.[14] By the early 1800s, promised bounty land claims were finally fulfilled.[17]

Over the years, other bounty land and homestead laws were enacted to dispose of federal land.[10][17] Several different types of patents existed.[18] These include cash entry, credit, homestead, Indian, military warrants, mineral certificates, private land claims, railroads, state selections, swamps, town sites, and town lots.[18] A system of local land offices spread throughout the territories, patenting land that was surveyed via the corresponding Office of the Surveyor General of a particular territory.[18] This pattern gradually spread across the entire United States.[16] The laws that spurred this system with the exception of the General Mining Law of 1872 and the Desert Land Act of 1877 have since been repealed or superseded.[19]

In the early 20th century, Congress took additional steps toward recognizing the value of the assets on public lands and directed the Executive Branch to manage activities on the remaining public lands.[19] The Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 allowed leasing, exploration, and production of selected commodities, such as coal, oil, gas, and sodium to take place on public lands.[20] The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 established the United States Grazing Service to manage the public rangelands by establishment of advisory boards that set grazing fees.[21][22] The Oregon and California Revested Lands Sustained Yield Management Act of 1937, commonly referred as the O&C Act, required sustained yield management of the timberlands in western Oregon.[23]

In 1946, the

  • Skillen, James R. The Nation's Largest Landlord: The Bureau of Land Management in the American West (University Press of Kansas, 2009) 320 pp. excerpt and text search

External links

  • Official Bureau of Land Management Website
  • Bureau of Land Management in the Federal Register
  • Map of land managed by the BLM
  • Cobell Indian Trust case
  • BLM Careers
  • BLM Cadastral Survey
  • BLM Law Enforcement Rangers
  • Opportunity & Challenge: The Story of BLM - Official History

Further reading

  1. ^ a b "BLM Budget Highlights". BLM. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Public Land Statistics". BLM. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Elliott, Clayton R. (August 2010). Innovation in the U.S. Bureau of Land Management: Insights from Integrating Mule Deer Management with Oil and Gas Leasing (Masters Thesis).  
  4. ^ a b "History of the BLM: Yesterday and Today". BLM California. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "The Bureau of Land Management: Who We Are, What We Do". BLM. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "Fact Sheet on the BLM’s Management of Livestock Grazing". BLM. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "National Conservation Lands". BLM. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  8. ^ "Oil and Gas". BLM. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "New Energy for America". BLM. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c d e "The BLM: The Agency and its History". GPO. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application Files (p. 7)". National Archives and Records Administration (1974). Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  12. ^ "British-American Diplomacy Treaty of Paris - Hunter Miller's Notes". The Avalon Project at Yale Law School. Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  13. ^ Black, Jeremy. British foreign policy in an age of revolutions, 1783–1793 (1994) pp 11–20
  14. ^ a b A History of the Rectangular Survey System by C. Albert White, 1983, Pub: Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management: For sale by G.P.O.
  15. ^ a b c Vernon Carstensen, "Patterns on the American Land." Journal of Federalism, Fall 1987, Vol. 18 Issue 4, pp 31-39
  16. ^ a b White, C. Albert (1991). A history of the rectangular survey system. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. 
  17. ^ a b "Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application Files (p. 3)". National Archives and Records Administration (1974). Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  18. ^ a b c "Records of the Bureau of Land Management [BLM] (Record Group 49) 1685-1993 (bulk 1770-1982)". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  19. ^ a b c d "BLM and Its Predecessors: A Long and Varied History". BLM. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  20. ^ "Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 As Amended". BLM. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  21. ^ Wishart, David J. (Ed.). "Taylor Grazing Act". Encyclopedia of the Great Plains ( 
  22. ^ Elliott, Clayton R. (August 2010). Innovation in the U.S. Bureau of Land Management: Insights from Integrating Mule Deer Management with Oil and Gas Leasing (Masters Thesis).  
  23. ^ "O&C Sustained Yield Act: the Law, the Land, the Legacy". Bureau of Land Management. Retrieved March 6, 2012. 
  24. ^ James, Muhn (September 1988). Opportunity and Challenge: The Story of BLM. Denver: BLM. p. 52. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  25. ^ James, Muhn (September 1988). Opportunity and Challenge: The Story of BLM. Denver: BLM. pp. 160–172. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  26. ^ James, Muhn (September 1988). Opportunity and Challenge: The Story of BLM. Denver: BLM. pp. 104–106. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  27. ^ Elliott, Clayton R. (August 2010). Innovation in the U.S. Bureau of Land Management: Insights from Integrating Mule Deer Management with Oil and Gas Leasing (Masters Thesis).  
  28. ^ "43 U.S. Code § 1702(c)". Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  29. ^ James R. Skillen, The Nation's Largest Landlord (2009)
  30. ^ Mathew Barrett Gross (2002-02-13). "San Rafael Swell monument proposal could prove that Bush realizes the importance of a fair and public process". Headwaters News,  
  31. ^ Davidson, Lee (Sep 27, 1996). "Orton's bill would erase power to declare permanent monument".  
  32. ^ Western States Data Public Land Acreage (Forest Service & BLM) from November 13, 2007
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h "Fact Sheet on the BLM’s Management of Livestock Grazing". BLM. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  34. ^ An AUM is the amount of forage needed to sustain one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month.
  35. ^ "Oil and Gas". BLM. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  36. ^ "Mining Laws". BLM. 
  37. ^ a b "Total Federal Coal Leases in Effect, Total Acres Under Lease, and Lease Sales by Fiscal Year Since 1990". BLM. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  38. ^ a b "Senate Report 106-491 - OUTFITTER POLICY ACT OF 1999". https://www.congress.gov/. Library of Congress. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  39. ^ a b "IntIntroduction: The California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA)". BLM. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  40. ^ a b "BLM PUBLIC DOMAIN LANDS: Volume of Timber Offered for Sale Has Declined Substantially Since Fiscal Year 1990". GAO. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  41. ^ "2014 National and State Fire Preparedness Program Summaries". BLM. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  42. ^ "Mineral and Surface Acreage Managed by the BLM". BLM. 
  43. ^ a b "Cadastral History". BLM. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  44. ^ a b c "Abandoned Mine Lands". BLM. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  45. ^ "Abandoned Mine Lands in the Department of the Interior". Department of the Interior IG. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  46. ^ a b c US Department of Energy, Bureau of Land Management to Establish Renewable Energy Offices, January 21, 2009
  47. ^ a b Krule, Miriam. "Our Government May Be Shut Down, but at Least Our Helium Reserve Won’t Be ... for Now". slate.com. Slate. Retrieved 2014-11-18. 
  48. ^ An Ode to Helium, by Gail Collins, New York Times, 4 May 2013
  49. ^ a b c "Statement of Henri Bisson, Deputy Director Bureau of Land Management U.S. Department of the Interior Before the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Hearing on the FY 2009 Budget Request of the Bureau of Land Management February 27, 2008". Department of the Interior. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  50. ^ a b c d "National Landscape Conservation System". The Wilderness Society. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  51. ^ "H.R. 146 (111th): Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009". Govtrack.us. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  52. ^ "Resources and Statistics". BLM. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  53. ^ "BLM Law Enforcement: Protecting Public Land Resources". BLM. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  54. ^ "FY 2015 BLM Green Book". BLM. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  55. ^ "BLM Law Enforcement". Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  56. ^ a b c d "BLM Rangers". BLM. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  57. ^ a b c "BLM Special Agents". BLM. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  58. ^ a b c d e f "Wild Horse and Burro Quick Facts". BLM. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  59. ^ Roberto, Iraola (Fall 2005). "The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971". Environmental Law (Lewis & Clark Law School) 35: 1049-1079. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  60. ^ a b Sterba, James P. "Revived Killing of Wild Horses for Pet Food Is Feared." New York Times. August 3, 1974.
  61. ^ Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program: A Way Forward. National Academy of Sciences. p. 16. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  62. ^ a b Pitt, Kenneth. "The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act: A Western Melodrama." Environmental Law. 15:503 at 528 (Spring 1985)
  63. ^ a b Glover, Kristen H. "Managing Wild Horses on Public Lands: Congressional Action and Agency Response." North Carolina Law Review. 79:1108 (May 2001).
  64. ^ Raia, Pat (March 1, 2009). "BLM Horses: What's Their Future." The Horse. Accessed 2013-09-20.
  65. ^ Friedman, Gabe (August 6, 2014). "Sun Land". The New Yorker. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  66. ^ a b c "BLM Fact Sheet: Renewable Energy: Solar". BLM. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  67. ^ "New Energy for America". BLM. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  68. ^ "Wind Energy". BLM. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  69. ^ "RENEWABLE ENERGY: Agencies Have Taken Steps Aimed at Improving the Permitting Process for Development on Federal Lands". GAO Reports. GAO-13-189: 6. January 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  70. ^ a b "Geothermal Energy". BLM. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  71. ^ a b c "Woody Biomass and Bioenergy". BLM. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  72. ^ "Historical Record of the Offices, Managers and Organizations of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Grazing Service, General Land Office and O & C Revested Lands Administration 1934-2012". Public Lands Foundation. April 2012. p. 16. 
  73. ^ Johnson was the last Commissioner of the General Land Office (1933-1946)
  74. ^ Retired end of May, 2012 "BLM Director Bob Abbey to Retire After 34 Years of Public Service". Department of Interior. 2012-05-10. 

References

Directors

  • Biomass and bioenergy. Its large portfolio of productive timberlands leaves BLM with woody biomass among its line of forest products.[71] The biomass is composed of "smaller diameter materials" and other debris that result from timber production and forest management.[71] Though the use of these materials as a renewable resource is nascent, the agency is engaged in pilot projects to increase the use of its biomass supplies in bioenergy programs.[71]
  • Geothermal energy. BLM manages 59 geothermal leases in producing status, with a total capacity of 1,500 megawatts.[70] This amounts to over 40 percent of the geothermal energy capacity in the United States.[70]
  • Wind energy. BLM manages 20.6 million acres (83,000 km2) of public lands with wind potential.[67] It has authorized 39 wind energy development projects with a total approved capacity of 5,557 megawatts or enough to supply the power needs of over 1.5 million homes.[68] In addition, BLM has authorized over 100 wind energy testing sites.[69]
  • Solar energy. In 2010, BLM approved the first utility-scale solar energy projects on public land.[65] As of 2014, 70 solar energy projects covering 560,000 acres (2,300 km2) had been proposed on public lands managed by BLM primarily located in Arizona, California, and Nevada.[66] To date, it has approved 29 projects that have the potential to generate 8,786 megawatts of renewable energy or enough energy to power roughly 2.6 million homes.[66] The projects range in size from a 45-megawatt photovoltaic system on 422 acres (171 ha) to a 1,000-megawatt parabolic trough system on 7,025 acres (2,843 ha).[66]

In 2009, BLM opened Renewable Energy Coordination Offices in order to approve and oversee wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal projects on BLM-managed lands.[46] The offices were located in the four states where energy companies had shown the greatest interest in renewable energy development: Arizona, California, Nevada, and Wyoming.[46]

Aerial photograph of Ivanpah Solar Power Facility located on BLM-managed land in the Mohave Desert

Renewable energy

Despite the early successes of the adoption program, the BLM has struggled to maintain acceptable herd levels, as without natural predators, herd sizes can double every four years.[58] As of 2014, there were more than 49,000 horses and burros on BLM-managed land, exceeding the BLM's estimated "appropriate management level" (AML) by almost 22,500.[58]

In 1973, BLM began a pilot project on the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range known as the Adopt-A-Horse initiative.[62] The program took advantage of provisions in the WFRHBA to allow private "qualified" individuals to "adopt" as many horses as they wanted if they could show that they could provide adequate care for the animals.[63] At the time, title to the horses remained permanently with the federal government.[60] The pilot project was so successful that BLM allowed it to go nationwide in 1976.[62] The Adopt-a-Horse program quickly became the primary method of removing excess feral horses from BLM land given the lack of other viable methods.[63] The BLM also uses limited amounts of contraceptives in the herd, in the form of PZP vaccinations; advocates say that additional use of these vaccines would help to diminish the excess number of horses currently under BLM management.[64]

The BLM manages free-roaming horses and burros on public lands in ten western states.[58] Though they are feral, the agency is obligated to protect them under the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 (WFRHBA).[58] As the horses have few natural predators, populations have grown substantially.[58] WFRHBA as enacted provides for the removal of excess animals; the destruction of lame, old, or sick animals; the private placement or adoption of excess animals; and even the destruction of healthy animals if range management required it.[59][60] In fact, the destruction of healthy or unhealthy horses has almost never occurred.[61] Pursuant to the Public Rangelands Improvement Act of 1978, the BLM has established 179 "herd management areas" (HMAs) covering 31.6 million acres (128,000 km2) acres where feral horses can be found on federal lands.[58]

Mustangs run across Tule Valley, Utah

Wild Horse and Burro Program

By contrast BLM special agents are criminal investigators who plan and conduct investigations concerning possible violations of criminal and administrative provisions of the BLM and other statutes under the United States Code.[57] Special agents are normally plain clothes officers who carry concealed firearms, and other defensive equipment, make arrests, carry out complex criminal investigations, present cases for prosecution to local United States Attorneys and prepare investigative reports.[57] Criminal investigators occasionally conduct internal and civil claim investigations.[57]

Uniformed rangers enforce laws and regulations governing BLM lands and resources.[56] As part of that mission, these BLM rangers carry firearms, defensive equipment, make arrests, execute search warrants, complete reports and testify in court.[56] They seek to establish a regular and recurring presence on a vast amount of public lands, roads and recreation sites. They focus on the protection of natural and cultural resources, other BLM employees and visitors.[56] Given the many locations of BLM public lands, these rangers use canines, helicopters, snowmobiles, dirt bikes and boats to perform their duties.[56]

[55][54] Full-time staffing for these positions approaches 300.[53].Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) receive their training through special agents and rangers of the United States Government. BLM law enforcement federal law enforcement agencyThe BLM, through its Office of Law Enforcement & Security, functions as a
Lightning-sparked wildfires are frequent occurrences on BLM land in Nevada.

Law enforcement and security

Source: BLM Resources and Statistics[52]

Category Unit Type Number BLM acres BLM miles
National Conservation Lands National Monuments 20 5,590,135 acres (22,622.47 km2)
National Conservation Lands National Conservation Areas 16 3,671,519 acres (14,858.11 km2)
National Conservation Lands Areas Similar to National Conservation Areas 5 436,164 acres (1,765.09 km2)
Wilderness Wilderness Areas 221 8,711,938 acres (35,255.96 km2)
Wilderness Wilderness Study Areas 528 12,760,472 acres (51,639.80 km2)
National Wild and Scenic Rivers National Wild and Scenic Rivers 69 1,001,353 acres (4,052.33 km2) 2,423 miles (3,899 km)
National Trails System National Historic Trails 13 5,078 miles (8,172 km)
National Trails System National Scenic Trails 5 683 miles (1,099 km)
Totals 877 About 30 million acres (120,000 km2) (some units overlap) 8,184 miles (13,171 km)

Established in 2000, the National Landscape Conservation System is overseen by the BLM.[50] The National Landscape Conservation System lands constitute just about 12% of the lands managed by the BLM.[50] Congress passed Title II of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-11) to make the system a permanent part of the public lands protection system in the United States.[51][50] By designating these areas for conservation, the law directed the BLM to ensure these places are protected for future generations, similar to national parks and wildlife refuges.[50]

National Landscape Conservation System

  • Revenue and Fees. The BLM produces significant revenue for the United States budget.[49] In 2009, public lands were expected to generate an estimated $6.2 billion in revenues, mostly from energy development.[49] Nearly 43.5 percent of these funds are provided directly to states and counties to support roads, schools, and other community needs.[49]
  • Helium. BLM operates the National Helium Reserve near Amarillo, Texas, a program begun in 1925 during the time of the Zeppelin Wars.[47] Though the reserve had been set to be moved to private hands, it remains subject to oversight of the BLM under the provisions of the unanimously-passed Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act of 2013.[47][48]
  • Energy Corridors. Approximately 5,000 miles (8,000 km) of energy corridors for pipelines and transmission lines are located on BLM-managed lands.[46]
  • Abandoned Mines. BLM maintains an inventory of known abandoned mines on the lands it manages.[44] As of April 2014, the inventory contained nearly 46,000 sites and 85,000 other features.[44] Approximately 23% of the sites had either been remediated, had reclamation actions planned or underway, or did not require further action. The remaining sites require further investigation.[44] A 2008 Inspector General report alleges that BLM has for decades neglected the dangers represented by these abandoned mines.[45]
  • Cadastral Surveys. The BLM is the official record keeper for over 200 years' worth of cadastral survey records and plats as part of the Public Land Survey System.[43] In addition, the Bureau still completes numerous new surveys each year, mostly in Alaska, and conducts resurveys to restore obliterated or lost original surveys.[43]
  • Mineral Rights on Indian Lands. As part of its trust responsibilities, the BLM provides technical advice for minerals operations on 56 million acres (230,000 km2) of Indian lands.[42]
  • Firefighting. Well in excess of 3,000 full-time equivalent firefighting personnel work for BLM.[41] The agency fought 2,573 fire on BLM-managed lands in fiscal year 2013.[2]
Calm Before the Storm: Fatigued BLM Firefighters taking a break after a fire in Oregon in 2008
  • Timberlands. The Bureau manages 55 million acres (220,000 km2) of forests and woodlands, including 11 million acres (45,000 km2) of commercial forest and 44 million acres (180,000 km2) of woodlands in 11 western states and Alaska.[40] 53 million acres (210,000 km2) are productive forests and woodlands on public domain lands and 2.4 million acres (9,700 km2) are on O&C lands in western Oregon.[40]
  • California Desert Conservation Area. The California Desert Conservation Area covers 25 million acres (100,000 km2) of land in southern California designated by Congress in 1976 by means of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.[39] BLM is charged with administering about 10 million acres (40,000 km2) of this fragile area with its potential for multiple uses in mind.[39]
  • Recreation. The BLM administers 205,498 miles (330,717 km) of fishable streams, 2.2 million acres (8,900 km2) of lakes and reservoirs, 6,600 miles (10,600 km) of floatable rivers, over 500 boating access points, 69 National Back Country Byways, and 300 Watchable Wildlife sites.[38] The agency also manages 4,500 miles (7,200 km) of National Scenic, National Historic and National Recreation Trails, as well as thousands of miles of multiple use trails used by motorcyclists, hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers.[38] In 2013, BLM lands received an estimated 61.7 million recreational visitors.[2]
  • Coal Leases. The BLM holds the coal mineral estate to more than 570 million acres (2,300,000 km2) where the owner of the surface is the federal government, a state or local government, or a private entity.[37] As of 2013, the BLM had competitively granted 309 leases for coal mining to 474,252 acres (191,923 ha), an increase of 13,487 acres (5,458 ha) or nearly 3% increase in land subject to coal production over ten years' time.[37]
  • Mining. Domestic production from over 63,000 Federal "onshore" oil and gas wells on BLM lands accounts for 11 percent of the natural gas supply and five percent of the oil supply in the United States.[35] BLM has on record a total of 290,000 mining claims under the General Mining Law of 1872.[36]
  • Grazing. The BLM manages livestock grazing on nearly 155 million acres (630,000 km2) million acres under the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934.[33] The agency has granted more than 18,000 permits and leases to ranchers who graze their livestock, mostly cattle and sheep, at least part of the year on BLM public lands.[33] Permits and leases generally cover a 10-year period and are renewable if the BLM determines that the terms and conditions of the expiring permit or lease are being met.[33] The federal grazing fee is adjusted annually and is calculated using a formula originally set by Congress in the Public Rangelands Improvement Act of 1978.[33] Under this formula, the grazing fee cannot fall below $1.35 per animal unit month (AUM), nor can any fee increase or decrease exceed 25 percent of the previous year’s level.[33][34] The grazing fee for 2014 was set at $1.35 per AUM, the same level as for 2013.[33] Over time there has been a gradual decrease in the amount of grazing that takes place on BLM-managed land.[33] Grazing on public lands has declined from 18.2 million AUMs in 1954 to 7.9 million AUMs in 2013.[33]
Most of the public lands held by the Bureau of Land Management are located in the western states.[32]

BLM Programs

Since the Reagan years of the 1980s, Republicans have often given priority to local control and to grazing, mining and petroleum production, while Democrats have more often emphasized environmental concerns even when granting mining and drilling leases.[29] In September 1996, then President Bill Clinton used his authority under the Antiquities Act to establish the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah, the first of now 20 national monuments established on BLM lands and managed by the agency.[7] The establishment of Grand Staircase-Escalante foreshadowed later creation of the BLM's National Landscape Conservation System in 2000. Use of the Antiquities Act authority, to the extent it effectively scuttled a coal mine to have been operated by Andalex Resources, delighted recreation and conservation enthusiasts but set up larger confrontations with state and local authorities.[30][31] The changing demographics in the western states have led some to suggest that the BLM, long derided as the "Bureau of Livestock and Mines," is in the midst of becoming the "Bureau of Landscapes and Monuments."[3]

BLM personnel on the ground have typically been oriented toward local interests, while bureau management in Washington are led by presidential guidance.[27] By means of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, Congress created a more unified bureau mission and recognized the value of the remaining public lands by declaring that these lands would remain in public ownership.[10] The law directed that these lands be managed with a view toward "multiple use" defined as "management of the public lands and their various resource values so that they are utilized in the combination that will best meet the present and future needs of the American people."[28]

[26] As a matter of course BLM's emphasis fell on activities in the western states as most of the mining, land sales, and federally owned areas are located west of the Mississippi.[25].Mississippi River The agency achieved its current form by combining offices in the western states and creating a corresponding office for lands both east of and alongside the [19] In the end, the Bureau of Land Management became less focused on land disposal and more focused on the long term management and preservation of the land.[24]

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