House hearing to target federal land policy ‘overreach’

By Scott Streater | 04/22/2024 06:05 AM EDT

Republicans are looking to highlight their opposition to rulemaking finalized last week.

Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah).

Utah Republican Rep. John Curtis is sponsoring legislation against a contentious Bureau of Land Management rule up for discussion this week. Carolyn Kaster/AP

A House Natural Resources subcommittee field hearing in Utah this week will focus on federal land management policies that some Western congressional leaders complain hamper economic development by prioritizing conservation.

The Subcommittee on Federal Lands hearing set for Monday will likely serve as a political counter to the suite of major federal rules and initiatives rolled out over the past two weeks that are aimed at bolstering President Joe Biden’s appeal to conservationists and young climate activists during an election year, and that have angered Republican lawmakers.

The hearing will likely include a discussion on recently finalized Bureau of Land Management rules that substantially increase royalty rates and the minimum bond requirement for drilling a federal lease, and another rule that streamlines permitting and cuts by as much as 80 percent the acreage rental rates and capacity fees for wind and solar power projects.


And Republican lawmakers are almost certain to speak against BLM’s finalization last week of a broad new public lands rule that elevates conservation on par with energy development, livestock grazing and other uses on the 245 million acres that BLM oversees.