South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds and 15 other senators sent a letter to the Bureau of Land Management asking them to withdraw the proposed Public Lands Rule. The bureau says this rule would let conservationists lease federal land. The senators say it’s intended to set conservation equal to other land uses. The proposal would negatively affect western states, including South Dakota because their economies rely on public land for cattle grazing, energy development, and tourism. “It’s clear that anti-grazing and anti-development organizations would abuse this tool to attempt to halt ranching and block access to our nation’s abundant energy reserves located on public lands,” the letter says.
Supporters of this rule say land conservation is necessary to protect the environment. They argue that the rule will not impede current land uses. The BLM website says the bureau will host public meetings, virtually and in person, to discuss the proposed rule.