The Birth, Death, and Afterlife of the Wild Lands Policy: The Evolution of the Bureau of Land Management's Authority to Protect Wilderness Values

By Brumfield, Olivia | Environmental Law, Winter 2014 | Go to article overview

The Birth, Death, and Afterlife of the Wild Lands Policy: The Evolution of the Bureau of Land Management's Authority to Protect Wilderness Values


Brumfield, Olivia, Environmental Law


I.     INTRODUCTION  II.    OVERVIEW AND HISTORICAL BACKGROUND         A. The Wilderness Act        B. The Federal Land Policy and Management Act        C. BLM's Section 603 Inventory and WSA Recommendations        D. Section 603 WSA Management: Nonimpairment        E. Section 202 WSAs        F. Section 202 WSA Management: Modified Nonimpairment and           Revocable Protection  III.   THE UTAH LITIGATION        A. Reinventory        B. Litigation and Settlement  IV.    POST-SETTLEMENT CASE LAW        A. District Court Decisions        B. The Ninth Circuit Ushers in a New Era  V.    THE WILD LANDS POLICY        A. Inventory        B. Land Use Planning        C. Project Level Decisions  VI.   THE DEATH AND AFTERLIFE OF THE WILD LANDS POLICY  VII.  CONCLUSION 

I. INTRODUCTION

When Congress passed the Wilderness Act in 1964, (1) it addressed only lands managed by the United States Forest Service, United States Fish & Wildlife Service, and National Park Service, not the 66% of all public land then managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). (2) A dozen years later in 1976, Congress enacted the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), (3) creating BLM's authority to manage and protect wilderness. Section 603 of FLPMA directed BLM to identify its lands possessing wilderness values, then study and recommend to the President and Congress acres suitable for permanent wilderness preservation by 1991. (4) However, the statute did not clearly outline BLM's post deadline authority to evaluate its lands for wilderness values or describe how the agency should balance those values against other uses. (5) In the two decades since FLPMA's wilderness deadline, BLM has narrowed its interpretation of this ongoing authority. (6)

BLM completed its section 603 inventory in 1980, identifying wilderness characteristics on only about twenty-three million acres, or 13%, of the 174 million acres it managed outside Alaska and the Oregon & California Grant Lands. (7) BLM divided those acres into 919 wilderness study areas (WSAs), and as directed by section 603 of FLPMA, managed them "so as to not impair their suitability" for subsequent congressional wilderness designation. (8) After studying each WSA's wilderness characteristics, in 1991 BLM recommended to Congress that 9.6 million acres--only 5% of all BLM-managed land outside Alaska--were "suitable" for designation as wilderness areas. (9) Today, Congress has yet to act on thirteen million acres of WSAs. (10) Until Congress makes final decisions on the remaining WSAs, BLM must manage them under a "nonimpairment" standard. (11)

After completing the section 603 inventory in 1980, BLM continued to identify lands with wilderness characteristics in its general resource inventories required under section 201 of FLPMA. (12) Both during and after the section 603 wilderness review, BLM interpreted section 202 of FLPMA, its land use planning authority, to authorize WSA designation and protection on certain units of land with wilderness character smaller than 5,000 acres. (13) BLM managed these WSAs under a modified nonimpairment standard that the agency, not just Congress, could alter through land use planning. (14)

In 1996, during the Clinton Administration, BLM reinventoried 3.1 million acres of Utah public land that, during the original section 603 wilderness inventory, the agency had determined lacked wilderness character. (15) The state of Utah challenged BLM's authority to reinventory and protect acres it had earlier found lacking wilderness character. (16) The litigation culminated in a 2003 settlement agreement in which BLM, now under management of new Interior Secretary Gale Norton, reversed its longstanding position regarding its authority to designate WSAs under section 202. (17) BLM agreed with the State that the agency's duty to identify and protect wilderness values expired with the 1993 deadline for presidential recommendations set by section 603. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Birth, Death, and Afterlife of the Wild Lands Policy: The Evolution of the Bureau of Land Management's Authority to Protect Wilderness Values
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.