Guest Column: BLM Must Work Closely With Wyoming Citizens, Not Washington, D.C.

Rep. Landon Brown writes, "Just listening to the citizens and not fixing the concerns is where I am most concerned about the federal government’s trajectory."

CSD Staff

October 13, 20234 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

I am writing to express my deep concerns regarding the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) proposed plan for Western Wyoming. As a concerned citizen of Wyoming, I believe it is crucial to carefully examine and assess any significant changes or developments that could impact our state's natural resources, economy, and way of life. The BLM's proposed plan for Western Wyoming warrants such scrutiny, and I would like to share my thoughts on why Wyoming citizens should be skeptical of this plan.

First and foremost, it is important to acknowledge the Bureau of Land Management's mission to manage public lands for multiple uses, including recreation, conservation, and resource development. However, this mission must be carried out responsibly and sustainably, with a keen understanding of the unique characteristics and needs of the region in question. Western Wyoming is known for its stunning landscapes, rich wildlife habitats, and vital resources, such as energy and minerals. Any proposed changes to land use must be carefully weighed against their potential environmental, economic, and social consequences.

One key concern with the BLM's plan for Western Wyoming is its potential impact on the local economy. This region has a long history of resource extraction, particularly in the form of oil, natural gas, and coal. These industries have provided stable employment opportunities for countless Wyoming residents, contributing significantly to the state's revenue and economic vitality. The BLM's proposed changes could jeopardize these industries and the livelihoods of the people who depend on them.

While transitioning towards cleaner energy sources is undoubtedly a global imperative, it must be done with a well-thought-out plan that includes support for those who may be negatively affected. Sudden and abrupt changes in land use can lead to job losses, financial insecurity, and challenges for the local communities in Western Wyoming. Instead of rushing into such transitions, we need a comprehensive strategy that provides a smooth and just transition for the affected workers and communities, while also considering the economic implications for the state as a whole.

Furthermore, we must consider the potential environmental impact of the BLM's proposed plan. Western Wyoming is home to diverse ecosystems, including wildlife like elk, mule deer, pronghorn, and sage grouse. Any plan that affects land use in the region must prioritize the preservation of these habitats and the protection of our natural resources.

It is essential to ensure that the BLM's plan includes adequate measures for mitigating the environmental impact of proposed changes and that these measures are subject to stringent oversight and enforcement.  Wyoming knows how to manage our lands, the bureaucrats in Washington that have never stepped foot in our state, know nothing compared to our citizens who revel in our ability to maintain and enhance our state’s reputation of public lands.

Additionally, the BLM's proposed plan for Western Wyoming should be subject to a thorough and transparent public consultation process. Wyoming residents have a vested interest in the future of their state, and their voices should be heard and considered in any decisions related to land use and resource management.

The BLM must actively engage with local communities, businesses, and individuals to gather input and feedback, allowing for a well-rounded and informed decision-making process.  Just listening to the citizens and not fixing the concerns is where I am most concerned about the Federal Government’s trajectory.  What is said is one thing, but what goes in the Federal Register in writing is what matters – The federal government is notoriously infamous for saying one thing and publishing another – Let’s not see that happen here, again.

In conclusion, while the Bureau of Land Management's mission is to manage public lands for the benefit of all, the proposed plan for Western Wyoming raises significant concerns. Wyoming citizens should be skeptical because the potential consequences of this plan are far-reaching and could have a lasting impact on our state's economy, environment, and private property rights. We must prioritize a sustainable and balanced approach to land use that considers the unique characteristics and needs of Western Wyoming and includes input from the local community.

I urge the BLM to work closely with Wyoming residents, stakeholders, and experts to develop a plan that addresses these concerns and ensures the long-term well-being of our state. It is our collective responsibility to protect and preserve the natural beauty and resources that make Wyoming unique while also securing the livelihoods of its residents.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter, and I hope that the BLM will take these concerns to heart as it moves forward with its plan for Western Wyoming.

Rep. Landon Brown

Brown has represented District 9 (Cheyenne) since 2017

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CSD Staff