Dear Friend of Public Lands,
The Director of the Bureau of Land Management is an extremely important position, one which manages more surface land (245 million acres or one-tenth of America’s land base) and more subsurface mineral estate (700 million acres) than any other government agency in the United States. The person who is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate as the next BLM Director will have their hands full in assessing the impacts of the recent reorganization, what is working and is not working, and what needs to be done to get BLM on track to ensure it is on board with the priorities of the Biden Administration as the agency implements its multiple use mission.
It is crucial that a permanent Director be sought to lead the BLM as soon as possible. The agency has not had a permanent leader for nearly four years. The agency leadership has been weakened and is unresponsive to constituents and employees as a result. Over the past several years the Headquarters of the BLM has been decimated, with leadership positions scattered to a dozen different western locations. It is imperative that the Headquarters function be put back together again and that leadership be restored in Washington DC. The Director and senior leadership need to be located beside their sister agencies, the Secretary’s Office, the Congress and other Capitol Hill constituents.
The Public Lands Foundation will support candidates that meet the statutory qualifications for the position and have qualities that we believe will benefit the BLM and the public lands for the next four years and into the future. The ideal candidate should have:
1. A robust background and experience in public lands management as stipulated in the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). FLPMA requires that the Director “shall have a broad background and substantial experience in public land and natural resource management.” [43 U.S.C. 1731].
2. A respect for the value of public input from all stakeholders, including nonprofit partners, representing the broad multiple resources of the public land, such as the PLF. In addition, a recognition for the contribution of Resource Advisory Councils towards better land use management decisions.
The PLF has provided members of the Biden Transition Team’s Department of the Interior agency review team with a Position Statement on Transition Advice where we highlight our “top ten” recommendations for their focus. We also look forward to working with Interior Secretary-designee Haaland upon her confirmation.
With your help and support for our advocacy, we hope to play an important role in public lands management over the next four years!
Ed Shepard, President
Public Lands Foundation