Senate passes bill ending Obama-era land rule

Senate passes bill ending Obama-era land rule

The Senate on Tuesday voted to end a land management rule finalized in the closing days of the Obama administration.

Lawmakers scuttled the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) “Planning 2.0” rule, a measure to modernize federal land management strategies.

The Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution against the rule is the latest measure pushed by Republicans taking aim at Obama-era rules. Once President Trump signs the resolution, it will be the third successful CRA challenge to an environmental measure so far this year.

Conservatives have opposed the BLM’s regulation, which they say gives the federal government too much influence over public land decisions and marginalizes state and local input.

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“Instead of greater transparency, BLM delivered a new process that ensures less transparency,” Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiTrump’s Army pick faces tough confirmation fight Republican Sen. Collins considering run for Maine governor in 2018 Alaska senators push bill to allow Arctic drilling MORE (R-Alaska) said during floor debate Tuesday.

“Instead of expanding public participation, Western states are looking at fewer and weaker opportunities to influence the management of local lands. Planning 2.0 also turns the relationship between the federal, the state and the local governments on its head.”

Supporters of the rule, though, said it was designed to overhaul the communication process between federal and state officials, something that hasn’t been updated since the early 1980s.

“I guarantee you in those 30 years we can come up with a better process for input from our constituents on important land use issues,” Sen. Maria CantwellMaria CantwellReport: GOP lawmakers selling access to top staffers Bipartisan group demands answers on United incident Cohn backs modern version of Glass-Steagall: report MORE (D-Wash.) said.

She called the rule “a very important project that has guaranteed public access, transparency and sunshine in planning our public lands.”

The Senate repealed the planning rule on a 51-48 vote, making it the fourth CRA resolution Congress has sent to Trump. He has so far signed two resolutions undoing Obama-era environmental issues, including a coal-mining rule and a financial disclosure requirement for drilling and mining firms.