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Secretary Bernhardt Designates Fee Free Day for Public Lands to Commemorate President Trump's Signing of the Great American Outdoors Act - 08/04/20

WASHINGTON – Today, President Donald J. Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law, which will significantly help address the historically underfunded, multi-billion-dollar deferred maintenance backlog at our national parks and public lands. In celebration of this historic achievement, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt announced that entrance fees paid by visitors coming to lands managed by the Department will be waived on August 5, 2020. Secretary Bernhardt also announced that August 4th will be designated “Great American Outdoors Day,” a fee-free day each year moving forward to commemorate the signing of the Act.

“President Trump has just enacted the most consequential dedicated funding for national parks, wildlife refuges, public recreation facilities and American Indian school infrastructure in U.S. history,” said Secretary Bernhardt. “I’ve designated August 4th as Great American Outdoors Day and waived entrance fees to celebrate the passage of this historic conservation law.”

Entrance fees will be waived at all fee collecting public lands at the National Park Service (NPS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). The Department holds fee-free days throughout the year to encourage visitation and appreciation for America’s public lands. On fee-free days, site-specific standard amenity and day-use fees at recreation sites and areas will be waived for the specified dates. Other fees, such as overnight camping, cabin rentals, group day use, and use of special areas, will remain in effect.

The remaining fee-free days in 2020 are:

NPS:

  • August 5: Great American Outdoors Act Commemoration
  • August 25: National Park Service Birthday
  • September 26: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day

BLM:

  • August 5: Great American Outdoors Act Commemoration
  • September 26: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day

FWS:

  • August 5: Great American Outdoors Act Commemoration
  • September 26: National Public Lands Day
  • October 11: First Sunday of National Wildlife Refuge Week
  • November 11: Veterans Day

Background

On March 3, President Trump called on Congress to send him a bill that fully and permanently funded the Land and Water Conservation Fund and restored our National Parks.  The President noted that it would be historic for America’s beautiful public lands when he signed such a bill into law. 

The Trump Administration worked with Congress to secure the passage of this landmark conservation legislation, which will use revenues from energy development to provide up to $1.9 billion a year for five years in the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund to provide needed maintenance for critical facilities and infrastructure in our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, recreation areas and American Indian schools. It will also use royalties from offshore oil and natural gas to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund to the tune of $900 million a year to invest in conservation and recreation opportunities across the country.

Last year, the NPS welcomed 327 million visitors who generated an economic impact of more than $41 billion and supported more than 340,000 jobs. Increasing popularity of our public lands has resulted in our national parks needing upgrades and improvements for more than 5,500 miles of paved roads, 17,000 miles of trails and 24,000 buildings. This legislation finally provides a long-term solution to this significant issue for the benefit of the American people and the betterment of our public lands.

Approximately 67 million visitors annually come to BLM-managed lands, supporting approximately 48,000 jobs nationwide and contributing almost $7 billion to the U.S. economy. BLM-managed public lands offer a wide array of recreational opportunities, including hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, mountain biking, horseback riding, boating, rafting, off-highway vehicle driving, rock climbing and more.

The Service welcomes approximately 54 million people to refuges each year. Their spending generates $3.2 billion in sales to local economies, employing more than 41,000 people and providing $1.1 billion in employment income.

The Department continues to urge visitors to do their part when visiting their public lands and follow guidance provided by the CDC, state and local public health officials to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The proclamation can be found online.

###

DOI and USDA renew commitment to protect public safety while addressing the threat of predators to livestock and urban-rural communities - 07/29/20

Partnership displays importance of increased access and recreational use of public lands

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-Wildlife Services (APHIS-WS) today renewed their partnership for alleviating human-wildlife conflicts on BLM-administered public lands. An updated Memorandum of Understanding clarifies respective roles and responsibilities for wildlife damage management and reducing predation on livestock across more than 245 million acres of public lands, mostly in the West and Alaska. The MOU will remain in effect for five years and replaces the previous agreement, signed in 2012.

“Under the Trump Administration, the BLM has increased access to and recreational opportunities on public lands. Reaffirming our partnership with APHIS-Wildlife Services allows us to take steps to protect the safety and the recreational experience of public land visitors and their pets while helping to ensure abundant wildlife,” said BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs William Perry Pendley. “We also recognize the livestock community, as well as those with small children and pets in the urban-rural interface areas, must be protected from attacks by dangerous predators.”

“APHIS-WS and the BLM are Federal partners who have collaborated for decades to protect people, livestock and natural resources on public lands. This newly signed MOU continues and refines that important tradition,” said Janet Bucknall, Deputy Administrator for Wildlife Services.

“Catron County has a long-standing working relationship with Wildlife Services which provides essential wildlife damage management to our livestock producers as well as our constituents across the county. We applaud the renewed commitment,” said Catron County Commissioner Anita A. Hand. “Living in a rural county with vast wide open spaces negative predator interactions can be devastating especially for our families with small children. Livestock production is crucial to our economy and the clarification of the respective roles and responsibilities is vital. We hope to see this commitment across all public lands throughout our county.” 

The MOU recognizes the importance of recreational activities on public lands. Both agencies will carefully evaluate the safety and recreation experiences of public land visitors and their pets prior to undertaking wildlife damage management activities in support of other multiple use management objectives. 

Both agencies are committed to ensuring that any wildlife damage management activity on BLM National Conservation Lands will be consistent with the requirements of designating legislation or proclamations and other applicable laws. The BLM will share relevant information for meeting these requirements during its review of APHIS-WS annual plans and will complete a Minimum Requirements Analysis for any activities APHIS-WS proposes to conduct in Wilderness areas.

“With ever increasing predator populations, it is critical that federal land and wildlife management agencies coordinate along with impacted communities to protect people, private property and wildlife like deer and elk,” said New Mexico Federal Lands Council President Don L. (Bebo) Lee.

The BLM and APHIS will continue to coordinate regularly and closely to ensure that wildlife damage management activities are analyzed under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). APHIS-WS will serve as the lead agency in preparing NEPA analysis of damage-management activities and the BLM as a cooperating agency, except in situations where the BLM specifically requests APHIS-WS assistance in managing wildlife damage on public lands it administers. In these instances, the BLM will serve as lead and APHIS-WS as cooperating agency. The BLM managers will continue to review APHIS-WS wildlife damage management plans annually and provide information so these plans conform with the BLM resource management plans.

APHIS-WS’s mission is to provide federal leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist. APHIS-WS is the federal agency with recognized expertise and authority under the Act of March 2, 1931, as amended, and the Act of December 22, 1987, for providing WDM services, which establish APHIS-WS as the lead agency for wildlife damage management activities.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In fiscal year 2018, the diverse activities authorized on BLM-managed lands generated $105 billion in economic output across the country. This economic activity supported 471,000 jobs and contributed substantial revenue to the U.S. Treasury and state governments, mostly through royalties on minerals.

-BLM-

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In fiscal year 2018, the diverse activities authorized on BLM-managed lands generated $105 billion in economic output across the country. This economic activity supported 471,000 jobs and contributed substantial revenue to the U.S. Treasury and state governments, mostly through royalties on minerals.

The Trump Administration proposes updates to oil and gas regulations - 07/29/20

Proposed changes ensure fair return for taxpayers and clarify regulations for producers 

WASHINGTON – In support of President Donald J. Trump’s America-First Energy Strategy, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced proposed revisions to three key regulations governing oversight of oil and gas production and reporting. The proposed regulations are designed to reduce burdensome bureaucracy, redundant recordkeeping and measurement requirements, while ensuring that taxpayers receive accurate royalties from oil and gas produced on Federal and Tribal lands.

“These proposed enhancements streamline regulations to ensure that our oversight of energy production on America’s public lands is consistent and fair,” said Deputy Secretary of the Interior Kate MacGregor.

“We’re continuing our work to ensure safe, abundant, and affordable energy for all Americans,” said William Perry Pendley, BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs. “The BLM promotes responsible and safe oil and gas development on public lands and is committed to making sure these valuable resources are reported properly and measured accurately.”

Federal royalties generated from onshore oil and gas production on Federal lands totaled nearly $4.23 billion in Fiscal Year 2019. In addition, production on Tribal lands generated nearly $1.14 billion. Revenue from production royalties are distributed entirely to Tribes and shared with the states in which those revenues are generated, making the oil and gas industry an indispensable source of revenue for schools, healthcare, infrastructure and other public services across the West. These updates support the Administration’s work to relieve burdens adversely impacting investments that generate these royalties. 

In total, oil and gas development on BLM-managed lands supported more than 300,000 jobs and contributed $71.5 billion in output to the U.S. economy in fiscal year 2018. These contributions make it critical for the agency to ensure accurate measurement and reporting of production, while reducing unnecessary and burdensome requirements to protect jobs and facilitate reliable energy production. Oil and gas measurement performance requirements have been updated to account for production volumes and risk to mismeasurement. More accurate measurement is required at higher producing leases. Such updates are necessary because vast royalties are generated from smaller, local operations that were disproportionately impacted by the previous regulations. 

The proposed rule would revise three regulations to ensure proper handling of oil and gas production, which is essential for accurate measurement, proper reporting and overall production accountability. Taken together, the proposed new rules would remove or modify unnecessarily complex and burdensome requirements, address logistical issues and eliminate inconsistencies. For example, the proposed rule reduces requirements for water-draining operations which are duplicative of existing seal requirements.

“Our goal is to ensure maximum accountability and efficiency, while making sure that operators are able to develop America’s energy resources on public lands for the benefit of the American people and local communities across the nation. We will use the feedback and information we receive from the public and stakeholders to further refine and improve this proposal before making any final decision,” Mr. Pendley said.

Through these proposed changes, the BLM will ensure accurate reporting while significantly reducing duplicative and extensive recordkeeping requirements. Further, the proposals increase grandfathering of measurement equipment and inspection frequency, where accuracy and performance has already been verified.

The rulemaking follows the BLM’s review of the 2016 final rules for conformance with Executive Order 13783 Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth, and Secretary’s Order 3349 American Energy Independence, which require agencies to ensure that regulations do not unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, or prevent job creation. Based upon that review, the BLM found that the revisions would streamline regulations for oil and gas operators working on Federal and Indian lands.

Publication of the proposed regulations in the Federal Register will open a 60-day public comment period. The BLM will notify the public and stakeholders when the regulations publish, as well as publicizing the opening and closing dates of the comment period and instructions on how to comment. Before finalizing any regulations, the BLM will  review and respond to substantive public comments and may use any new information gathered to help guide the development of the revisions.

-BLM-

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In fiscal year 2018, the diverse activities authorized on BLM-managed lands generated $105 billion in economic output across the country. This economic activity supported 471,000 jobs and contributed substantial revenue to the U.S. Treasury and state governments, mostly through royalties on minerals.

Be Fire Aware: New restrictions for power tools in effect on BLM lands in the Medford District - 07/17/20

Medford, Ore. – As the weather warms and fire danger increases, Bureau of Land Management Medford District officials are implementing additional public use restrictions on BLM-managed lands in southern Oregon. Starting July 17, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., certain activities on BLM-managed lands in Jackson and Josephine Counties will be restricted to prevent human-caused fire and reduce wildfire potential. Under the restriction, campfires will be allowed at the Hyatt Lake Campground when access is restored.

In all other areas, visitors can use portable cooking stoves that use liquefied or bottled fuels. Otherwise, campfires or any other type of open fire, including the use of charcoal briquettes, is prohibited. 

The primary change to fire prevention regulations now in effect relates to the use power-driven machinery, which will now be restricted between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., as detailed below:

  • Power saws must be shut down between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Additionally, saw users must have one shovel and one fire extinguisher (8 oz. capacity or greater) at the job site, and a fire watch must take place for one hour after the saw is shut down.
  • Equipment used for the cutting, grinding or welding of metal must be conducted in a cleared area, and all work must stop between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. A charged garden hose or a fire extinguisher (2.5 lb. or larger) must be at the job site.
  • The mowing of dry, cured grass with power equipment will not be allowed between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. This regulation does not apply to farm equipment used for the culture and harvest of crops.
  • The use of any other spark-emitting equipment using an internal combustion engine will not be allowed between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. During other hours, this equipment must be used in a cleared area, and a garden hose or fire extinguisher (2.5 lb. or larger) must be at the equipment site.

Additionally, the following activities continue to be restricted:

  • Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire, including charcoal briquettes except at a designated area.
  • Smoking is only allowed while inside a vehicle or while stopped in an area at least three (3) feet in diameter that is clear of flammable vegetation. 
  • Operating a motor vehicle and parking off road (including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles) is only allowed on roadways clear of flammable vegetation. 
  • Using fireworks, exploding targets or tracer ammunition is prohibited. 
  • Using a chainsaw or other equipment with internal combustion engines for felling, bucking, skidding, wood cutting or any other operation is prohibited. 
  • Welding, or operating a torch with an open flame, is prohibited. 

Visitors to BLM-managed lands are also required to carry tools with them to ensure small fires can be put out quickly, including a shovel, axe and at least one gallon of water or a 2.5 pound fire extinguisher. 

Violation of these restrictions can result in a fine up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.

The safety of the public and all wildland fire responders is always the number one priority for all wildland fire agencies. This year, it is especially important everyone does their part to reduce human caused wildfires. BLM officials are taking the necessary steps to ensure their ability to deploy firefighters for wildfire response. Officials stress their commitment to the most efficient wildland fire suppression operations during these challenging times.

For updated information on public use restrictions, please visit www.blm.gov/programs/public-safety-andfire/fire-and-aviation/regional-info/oregon-washington/fire-restrictions and the Oregon Department of Forestry at https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx

– BLM–

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In fiscal year 2018, the diverse activities authorized on BLM-managed lands generated $105 billion in economic output across the country. This economic activity supported 471,000 jobs and contributed substantial revenue to the U.S. Treasury and state governments, mostly through royalties on minerals.

Online Wild Horse Adoption Event to Feature 19 Horses from Southeast Oregon (video) - 07/14/20

BURNS, Ore. — The Bureau of Land Management will hold an online wild horse and burro adoption event July 14-21, 2020, featuring 19 horses from southeast Oregon.

The adoption will be coordinated through the agency’s wild horse and burro adoption and sales website at https://on.doi.gov/2fSrzJi. Interested parties should first visit this website to learn more about the rules and requirements for adopting or purchasing a wild horse or burro. Animal bids start at $25.

During this event, 19 horses from southeast Oregon will be available for adoption, along with many others from Bureau of Land Management mustang holding facilities in the west. The Oregon horses for this adoption range from 6 to 21 years old and come from the Stinkingwater, Beatys Butte, and Warm Springs herd management areas.

Video clips of available horses from southeast Oregon are available now on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/fTv1xkR1UsA.

All of the Oregon horses in this event are also eligible for the Adoption Incentive Program, which gives $1,000 to qualified applicants who adopt an untrained animal. Several horses are also available for direct purchase through the BLM’s Sale Authority Program.

Horses adopted or purchased during the July Online Corral event will be available for pick-up from numerous locations across the country, including Oregon, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Illinois.

In 2018, the BLM released its new “Online Corral” system – an internet-based auction site geared toward increasing the number of wild horses and burros placed into private care each year. The website features a modern, streamlined interface, new filtering features, and an interactive web map. Users submit and track the status of their applications directly through the website. Approved applicants can browse available animals and participate in the competitive bid event.

All horse enthusiasts are encouraged to consider becoming adopters so these wild horses can be placed in good, safe homes. With their stamina, hardiness, and quick intelligence, Oregon’s wild horses make excellent partners for any discipline.

See all the individual animal profiles and sign up to adopt today: https://wildhorsesonline.blm.gov/Animals  

If you have any technical questions about the upcoming online event, call 1-800-370-3936 or email blm_es_inet_adoption@blm.gov. You can also contact Oregon’s Wild Horse Corral Facility at 541-573-2749.