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Guardians Calls on U.S. Bureau of Land Management to Respond to COVID-19 Crisis
In a letter to the Deputy Bureau of Land Management Director, the groups highlighted the fact that virtually all American lives have been seriously disrupted as the COVID-19 crisis has grown, preventing many from engaging in the agency’s management of public lands and resources.
In spite of the outbreak of novel coronavirus in the United States, the Bureau of Land Management continues to move forward on plans to sell public lands for fracking, rollback environmental safeguards, adopt new plans for the management of public lands and resources, and authorize private development.
In their letter today, WildEarth Guardians and Western Watersheds Project pled with the Bureau of Land Management to suspend these actions, stating “At this moment in time, there is simply no need for the BLM to undertake management actions and activities that distract the American public from doing their part to move the United States forward in this time of crisis and uncertainty.”
The groups explained, “state and local governments, small and large businesses, public land and resource users, educational institutions, fish and wildlife managers, and many more face serious disruption in their daily lives [and] there is no doubt that ability for all interest groups to weigh in on BLM management actions is currently severely constrained.”
“While normally the American public would have ample opportunity to interact and engage with the agency as it proposes management actions, this is simply not the case at this moment in time,” continued the groups.
The Bureau of Land Management’s response to the COVID-19 crisis has so far been muted. The agency has issued no statements or directives and taken no action to specifically address the crisis. WildEarth Guardians and Western Watersheds Project are hoping the agency rethinks its refusal to respond to a crisis that is now affecting every American.
Said the groups, “we urge you to join us and all other Americans in making the response to the COVID-19 crisis the highest priority for this nation.”