Idaho Governor asks DOI Salazar to withdraw ‘Wild Lands’ Secretarial Order 3310
by Pinedale Online!
January 13, 2011
On Wednesday, January 12th, Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter wrote a letter to United States Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asking that he "immediately withdraw this Secretarial Order and initiate proper federal rulemaking pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act."
The letter was in response to the recent issuing Secretarial Order 3310 which directs the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), based on the input of the public and local communities through its existing land management planning process, to designate appropriate areas with wilderness characteristics under its jurisdiction as "Wild Lands" and to manage them to protect their wilderness values.
Governor Otter told Secretary Salazar that he was extremely disappointed in the decision which places significant and sweeping authority in the hands of unelected federal bureaucrats. Otter said the decision rested on a false premise, that the BLM’s current practices favor multiple-use activities. Otter said the DOI was attempting to soft-peddle the real, on-the-ground impact of the policy.
Click on this link to go to a PDF of the letter.
Below is the text of the letter:
C.L. "Butch" Otter, Governor
January 12, 2011
Secretary Ken Salazar
United States Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
Re: Secretarial Order 3310
Dear Secretary Salazar,
I am extremely disappointed with your recent decision to issue Secretarial Order 3310. It reflects the same type of "top-down,""one-size-fits-al1" management approach to which Idaho was subjected during the waning hours of the Clinton Administration and Chief Forester Mike Dombeck. Without any state or public input, the Interior Department has circumvented the sovereignty of states and the will of the public by shifting from the normal planning processes of the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act ("FLPNIA") to one that places significant and sweeping authority in the hands of unelected federal bureaucrats.
In your press conference, you said the order would "restore balance" and eliminate the tired debate between multiple-use activities and protecting backcountry areas. This assumption rests on a false premise. Suggesting that current BLM practices favor multiple-use activities over preservation simply ignores the reality that the agency has succumbed to endless bureaucratic recalcitrance, resource constraints and lawsuits by environmental groups. This order will only exacerbate these problems.
The Interior Department's attempt to soft-peddle the real, on-the-ground impact of this policy is equally disappointing and unavailing, The BLM9s draft policy makes it clear that areas designated as "Wild Lands" will carry a heavy presumption of de facto "W"ilderness management. As you are undoubtedly aware, this type de facto "W"ildemess designation by adminisative fiat was categorically rejected by Judge Brimmer in the State of Wyoming's challenge to the 2001 Clinton
In light of these and numerous other concerns, I ask that you immediately withdraw this Secretarial Order and initiate proper federal rulemaking pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act. Clearly, this type of sweeping change without public input, proper notice and environmental compliance - including the National Environmental Policy Act – cannot engender the necessary support and inevitably will lead to endless lawsuits.
As Always-Idaho, ""Esto Perpetua" (unless this Secretarial Order stands)
C.L. "Butch" Otter
Governor of Idaho
C: Bob Abbey, BLM Director – State Congressional Delegation
Steve Ellis, BLM State of Idaho Director