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Rounds opposes Public Land Rule in letter to Bureau of Land Management

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Sen. Mike Rounds and 15 other senators sent the Bureau of Land Management a letter urging them to withdraw the proposed Public Lands Rule.

The bureau said this rule would let conservationists lease federal land. This is intended to set conservation equal to other land uses.

Rounds and other Republican senators say this proposal would negatively affect western states, including South Dakota, because their economies rely on public land for cattle grazing, energy development and tourism.

“It’s clear that anti-grazing and anti-development organizations would abuse this tool to attempt to halt ranching and block access to our nation’s abundant energy reserves located on public lands,” the letter said.

Supporters of the rule say land conservation is necessary to protect the environment. They argue this rule will not impede on current land uses.

“It would not prohibit land uses that impair landscape health and resilience; rather, it would require that the project avoid impairment and an explanation if and when such impairment could not be avoided,” the bureau's website says.

The bureau will host public meetings virtually and in person to discuss the Public Lands Rule. The next meeting will be in person in Denver, Colorado on May 25. The full schedule can be found on the bureau's website.

Elizabeth is an intern with South Dakota Public Broadcasting.