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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Bills in Congress seek to nix conservation in BLM Public Lands Rule

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Monday, October 9, 2023   

Bills in Congress would throw out comments for a proposed rule that would prioritize conservation and restoration on U.S. Bureau of Land Management public lands.

House Resolution 3977 and Senate Bill 1435 would call for the BLM to stop gathering and discard public input on its draft Public Lands Rule, tossing out more than 216,000 public comments.

Jamie Dawson with the Oregon chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers said these BLM lands are valuable for many different reasons.

"This conservation rule will just help ensure that the agency does take the steps necessary to protect fish and wildlife habitat, protect migration corridors, clean water," said Dawson, "all of these other values that are really important."

The proposed rule elevates conservation and restoration in the BLM's multiple-use mandate for public lands.

It's received pushback from the oil and gas industry, which says it violates BLM's mandate to prioritize the nation's need for domestic minerals, including oil and gas.

Dawson said Oregon is lucky to have as much public land as it does.

"You don't need to have a friend with a ranch or a private pond who will let you come onto their property," said Dawson. "Having access to BLM lands makes hunting and angling a lot more accessible for a lot more people. So it's important that we make sure they're in good condition."

A vote is expected this month on the two bills tossing out the draft BLM Public Lands Rule.




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House Bill passed with an overwhelming vote of 94-6, with three abstentions. Its companion, Senate Bill 159, passed unanimously with a vote of 34-0. (Chad Robertson/Adobe Stock)

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