Anytime I see news coming out of the Biden administration effecting public lands in the West, myself and other multi-users on these lands get nervous. Lately, I have been reading some important news and expecting more to come from the administration, which could really have an effect on public lands and the way they are managed.
We realize the president campaigned on climate change issues and it has to fit in most all of his decisions. We also know the president is dead set against America producing oil and natural gas and wants more renewable energy. Couple this with some huge spending programs Congress passed, supply chain issues and an ongoing war in Ukraine, we’ve got a hefty inflation rate here in America. In fact, it’s the highest rate in 40 years.
This inflation rate is not making the president look too good and has given him an approval rating of around 33 percent, which is not good. To help his cause he has tried to lower the cost of gasoline by releasing some oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve and now is allowing drilling on public lands. Releasing the cheap oil from the reserve and then having to replace it with expensive oil will not do us much good. Until we see what restrictions are placed on drilling on public lands, I don’t see too many oil companies in a hurry to drill, especially since the mineral rights percentage has been raised for the government. But, they are hoping gasoline prices will go down and the president can take credit for it to improve public opinion.
Farmers and ranchers are nervous over revising the rules of the Waters of the U.S. This would hamper more than just agriculture. The Bureau of Land Manage- ment (BLM) is also revising sage grouse plans. These revised plans may hinder all users. I’m sure there will be some changes, but hopefully not too restrictive for those involved in energy and agriculture. The BLM has taken outcome grazing, a successful program initiated by the last administration, and is trying to work it into the 30×30 plan, also called, America the Beautiful.
The president has built up quite a smoke screen, shutting down America while trying to improve the administration’s approval ratings. I don’t think it’s working. You can’t flip a switch and stop oil production or place so many restrictions on grazing permits so there is no grazing on federal lands.
The BLM says they want to work together with other users to manage the lands, which I hope is the case, because it is what Wyoming and surrounding states have been doing for years. It’s a better decision made by stakeholders than a judge’s ruling or a decision made in Washington, D.C. These decisions are not easy to make, every area or grazing allotment requires a site-specific decision made by people who know the land and have some chips in their hand. With energy, agriculture and recreation all wanting to use the land, it’s a real balancing act. Hopefully by working together, the decisions will have support of the stakeholders.
Coming close to the midterm of the president’s four years in office, we’ll see the president’s true colors in regards to public lands. I just hope it will be for the good.