Press Release

BLM Public Lands Rule confirms: Conservation on equal footing with resource extraction

Multicolored buttes and plains landscape with snowcapped mountains in the background

Bobcat Draw Badlands Wilderness Study Area, Wyoming

Bob Wick, BLM, Flickr

Drilling and mining won’t enjoy preferential treatment on agency’s 245-million-acre estate

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released the final version of its long-awaited public lands rule today, ushering in a more balanced approach for the nation’s largest manager of public lands, which has traditionally prioritized resource extraction.

The rule confirms that conservation of nature, cultural resources and outdoor recreation areas is on equal footing with drilling and mining across some 245 million acres. It also provides much-needed direction for land managers on how to protect and restore our public lands in the face of climate change and other threats.

This follows the BLM’s recent release of a final renewable energy rule that will help accelerate the siting and development of solar and wind energy projects on public lands. Paired with a finalized Western Solar Plan and the conservation guidance of the public lands rule, this will ensure renewable development is robust and happens only in the right places—for example, on lands that are close to transmission lines and far from sensitive wildlife habitat.

These and several other federal rules recently completed, or nearing completion soon, amount to a comprehensive approach to conserving public lands while harnessing their potential to help the U.S. transition to a clean energy economy. 

The following is a statement from Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society:

“This rule amounts to a generation-defining shift in how we manage our shared natural resources. BLM lands make up the biggest stretch of the federal estate, and now the Biden administration is putting it on the books officially that they will no longer be neglected or treated as just a source of oil and coal. These lands will also be stewarded as sanctuary for wildlife, stronghold for Indigenous cultural sites, haven for outdoor recreation and engine for a robust and responsible clean energy revolution.”

“Back in 1976, Congress required BLM to take a balanced approach in managing public lands. At last, thanks to this administration’s leadership, the agency has the tools needed to live up to that mission. It’s time we get to work implementing the public lands rule at BLM offices across the West, working closely with Tribes and local communities to tackle crises like climate change, biodiversity loss and lack of access to the outdoors.” 

For more information, contact Max Greenberg at or