Congressman Chris Stewart

Representing the 2nd District of Utah
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Rep. Chris Stewart Votes to Roll Back BLM’s Planning 2.0 Rule

Feb 7, 2017
Press Release
Washington, D.C. – With the support of Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), the House passed a joint resolution today, H.J. Res 44, which disapproves and nullifies BLM’s Planning 2.0 Rule.
 
After passing the House resolution Rep. Stewart said, "The BLM's final rule, known as Planning 2.0, is a snapshot of everything that was wrong with the previous administration. Unfortunately, this rule is so flawed, that a couple of administrative fixes will not right the ship. It has to be rescinded. The final rule ignored thousands of comments submitted from states and county commissioners and moved decision making out of the hands of local officials and into the hands of DC bureaucrats. These bureaucrats simply don’t know the land and needs of the counties like local officials do.”
 
President of the Utah Association of Counties and Beaver County Commissioner Mark Whitney said:
 
“Having a seat at the table to inform and steer BLM planning is critical to counties. The BLM had it right for 30 years by recognizing in their regulations the unique needs of counties. Planning 2.0 diluted our voice and our needs by opening BLM planning to out-of-state interests who simply do not understand our needs. I commend the House for doing the right thing today by rescinding this rule.”
 
Earlier today, Rep. Stewart spoke on the House Floor in support of this resolution. Watch his remarks, here.
 
 
Background:
On December 12, 2016 the Obama Administration published another overreaching “midnight regulation” in the form of the BLM’s new Resource Management Rule, commonly referred to as BLM’s Planning 2.0 Rule.
 
The same day the final rule was published, six Western states and a conservation district filed suit to block the new regulation stating that Planning 2.0 “will severely impair their ability to work with the BLM on future planning and management issues.”
 
H.J. Res 44, a joint resolution utilizes the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to disapprove and nullify BLM’s Planning 2.0 Rule.  The Congressional Review Act, a law enacted in 1996, requires a simple majority in both Houses as well as a signature by the president and uses expedited procedures that allow for nullification of an entire regulation through a joint resolution that cannot be filibustered. The CRA prevents the rule from continuing in effect and also prevents a substantially similar rule from being reissued. The parliamentarian has advised that all rules submitted during the 114th Congress on or after June 13, 2016, are eligible for review under the Congressional Review Act.

The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 established a process that requires the BLM to develop RMPs in cooperation with state, local and tribal governments. RMPs are typically updated every seven years and determine what actions can take place on BLM land. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, “247.3 million acres of public land and administers about 700 million acres of federal subsurface mineral estate throughout the nation.”

Planning 2.0 changes the BLM’s resource management planning process, and introduces significant uncertainty by creating ambiguous standards and expanding agency discretion. This new rule will complicate effective resource planning while reducing opportunities for meaningful state and local governmental input. Planning 2.0 directs the BLM to perform large “landscape scale” planning efforts that stretch across county and state lines. This new regulation allows radical special-interest groups from other states to have the same influence as county and local officials in the planning process. Planning 2.0 takes planning decisions away from local communities and centralizes those decisions with bureaucrats in Washington D.C. 
 
According to the American Action Forum, 4,432 new regulations have been finalized that cost a total of $1,000,000,000,000 and result in 754,208,800 hours of paperwork compliance since 2005. 120,849,512 hours of paperwork came from regulations that were finalized in 2016 alone. With regards to “midnight regulations,” those issued between Election Day and Inauguration Day, a potential cost of $6,000,000,000 worth of regulations was issued by the Obama Administration on eight rules. There were several other “midnight regulations” that have yet to be analyzed and are not included in that staggering cost estimate.