The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has proposed opening leasing of federal land to conservationists, giving them the chance to compete with the oil, mining, and grazing interests who are already allowed to bid for access to federal land and its resources. BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning told the AP that the proposed changes would address rising pressure from climate change and development. “It makes conservation an equal among the multiple uses that we manage for,” Stone-Manning said. “There are rules around how we do solar development. There are rules around how we do oil and gas.

There have not been rules around how we deliver on the portions of (federal law) that say, ‘Manage for fish and wildlife habitat, manage for clean water.’” BLM has a history of more industry-leaning policies for the more than 1 million square kilometers of land the agency manages, an area twice the size of California. Public hearings on the proposal will begin this week and continue throughout the summer. (AP, The Hill, Fox News)