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Share your perspective during public comment periods that impact public lands ranching.
PLC actively monitors regulatory proposals from federal agencies and alerts you to open comment periods. Want to get the latest regulatory information straight to your inbox? Contact us to sign up for PLC policy updates as they happen.
EPA & Army Corps announce NWPR Repeal
The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers have published the first of their two-phase rulemaking to repeal the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR). Following a recent court decision in Arizona that vacated the NWPR, the agencies have been implementing the 1986 regulation. Phase 1 of the rulemaking removes NWPR from the Code of Federal Regulations, so that the agency is able to implement the 1986 regulation, with revisions, while they work to revise the definition of "waters of the United States" through a second phase.
Once published in the Federal Register, the proposal will be open for public comment for 60 days, which will end on Friday, January 21., 2022 PLC will develop comments that will be available for use by affiliates. Should you need assistance submitting comments, please contact Kaitlynn Glover (email@example.com).
Check back soon for a comment link!
DOI Seeks Comments on 30x30 "America the Beautiful" Draft Atlas
On January 4, 2022, the Administration released a draft conservation “Atlas”, which is intended to guide the way the Administration will catalog and quantify national conservation efforts as they pursue their goal of conserving 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030. The debut of the draft Atlas follows publication of the America the Beautiful Interagency Working Group’s first annual report, released at the end of 2021. The draft Atlas will be open for public comment for 60 days to gather input on:
- Science and Data.
- What data sources, standards, and technical approaches should be applied to data included in the Atlas to ensure that it is an authoritative and useful tool for the public?
- Conservation as a Continuum.
- How can the Atlas reflect the meaningful conservation work already underway in America?
- What stewardship actions should be considered, in addition to permanent protections, to capture a more complete picture of conservation and restoration in America?
- What are the attributes of lands and waters that should be included in the Atlas? Considerations could include, for example, a clearly defined geographic boundary, status of ecological function, representation of species and habitats, extent of disturbance, expected future risks from climate change or other human stressors, ecosystem connectivity, or durability of management status.
- How can the Atlas best reflect the contributions of State, local, Tribal, territorial, and private lands?
- How can the Atlas best reflect land and water contributions to biodiversity, climate change mitigation and resilience, and equitable access to nature and its benefits?
Public comment will be accepted through March 7, 2022. PLC will be updating our feedback through our 30x30 Working Group to submit at that time. Additionally, the Interagency Working Group will host three 90-minute public listening sessions. Sessions will be livestreamed at: https://www.doi.gov/events. We encourage you to register for the sessions, even if you are not allotted speaking time:
- Thursday, January 13, 2022, 2:00-3:30pm ET: https://blm.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_7leqKna9RcWKRepswFqabQ
- Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 6:00-7:30pm ET: https://blm.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_sgVckAvCQjKEbINwDaatbQ
- Friday, January 21, 2022, 11:00am-12:30pm ET: https://blm.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_kXZS1DMCQ-CeQ4K2ycPQIA
As we develop comments and expand PLC’s engagement with the Interagency Task Force on federal lands ranchers’ contributions to conservation, we continue to prioritize the message that your work is conservation, and should be counted and included in the Administration’s pursuit of “30 by 30”.
USFWS Proposes Changes to the Mexican Gray Wolf Experimental Population in AZ, NM
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a proposed rule that seeks to amend the existing Experimental, Non-Essential Population [10(j) population] of Mexican Gray Wolves in New Mexico and Arizona. The proposed rule, driven in part by the agency’s response to litigation, seeks to do a few key things:
- Modify population objective
- Establish a genetic objective
- Restrict three forms of take (temporarily) from the 2015 10(j) rule
In addition to the comment period above, the Service will hold 3 public information sessions/listening sessions:
- November 18, 2021 from 5:30 – 7:30 MT
- December 8, 2021 from 5:30 – 7:00 MT, with public hearing from 7 – 9 p.m. MT
- January 11, 2022 from 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., with public hearing from 7 – 9 p.m. MT
If published as expected, the 90-day public comment period will close on Thursday, January 27, 2022.
Should you need assistance submitting comments, please contact Kaitlynn Glover (firstname.lastname@example.org).
BLM Opens Sage Grouse Scoping Process
The Bureau of Land Management has initiated a scoping process to gather new information about sage grouse and sage grouse habitat as part of their efforts to revise the agency's management plans. Following a court stay, the agency has been implementing the body of the 2015 plans, while the 2019 plan revisions and the 2020 supplemental environmental documents have been in an ongoing court review.
The agency's process seeks to address court concerns while also responding to calls from PLC and others that the 2015 plans as implemented are ripe for improvement. This scoping process seeks submission of new science and new information on all factors affecting sage grouse and habitat management:
- Information related to Sagebrush Focal Areas
- Designation of priority habitat management areas
- Appropriate objectives for sage grouse on public lands, including the effects of drought and climate change
- Mitigation and compensatory mitigation
- Surface disturbance
- Appropriate management of livestock grazing and wild horse and burro management in sage grouse and sagebrush habitat
- Strategies for habitat restoration
- Role of wildland fire and invasive species
- Habitat monitoring
- New science and new information
- Whether the BLM should reconsider alternatives from the 2015 and 2019 plans.
If published as expected, the 75-day public comment period will close on February 8, 2022. PLC has a long history of engagement with the agency on sage grouse habitat management, and will be submitting comments drafted by our sage grouse working group. Should you wish to join that working group, have questions, or wish to discuss further, please do not hesitate to contact email@example.com.