Public lands agency takes heat over 'Mineral Mondays' tweet

Public lands agency takes heat over 'Mineral Mondays' tweet
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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is getting pushback from Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups for a tweet promoting the many uses of oil.

“Pack your petroleum-based gear for your next #BLMAdventure on public lands. #DYK more than 6,000 products, including insect repellent, fishing rods, canoes, and tents, are by-products of crude oil? Learn how minerals improve everyone's quality of life on #Mineral Monday,” the bureau tweeted on Monday through a handle tied to its eastern states office. 

But the tweet was mocked Wednesday by Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee, who argued the message highlighted the Trump’s administration's ties to the oil industry.

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“A message from the petroleum-based Trump administration. Big Oil owns this government so completely that your tax dollars are now being spent to encourage people to buy oil-based products. 'Mineral Monday' isn't a thing and never will be. #PeopleOverPolluters,” Democrats on the committee tweeted.

BLM oversees a wide variety of activity on public lands, including offering up some lands for their mineral use, which includes oil and gas development.

“Mineral Mondays had been a recurring social media item we (BLM-Eastern States) ran in the past on Mondays that highlighted a mineral for the week — its attributes or significance in our daily life,” a spokesman for BLM Eastern States said in response to a question from The Hill.

The tweet “represented an effort to personalize the multiple use, sustained yield mission of the Bureau of Land Management ... connecting a type of activity that occurs on public lands (recreation) with products that are derived from another type of activity that occurs on public lands (oil and gas leasing).” 

But one environmental group called the message industry "propaganda."

“The BLM’s job is to safeguard our spectacular public lands, not shill for the oil industry,” Randi Spivak, public lands director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “This pathetic, dangerous tweet is pure petroleum propaganda. [Interior] Secretary [David] Bernhardt should be called to account for spending taxpayer dollars on a fossil-fuel ad, and the post should be removed immediately.”