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Saturday, June 15, 2024

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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

New BLM rules better protect national parks, supporters say

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Monday, May 20, 2024   

Conservation groups said two new federal rules aim to help better protect public lands, including national parks.

The Bureau of Land Management's Public Lands Rule ensures conservation use is equal to extraction and development in decision-making on lands the agency manages. The BLM oversees 15.7 million acres in Oregon, about a quarter of the state's land area.

Matthew Kirby, senior director of energy and landscape conservation for the National Parks Conservation Association, said the rule is also good news for national parks like the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, which is surrounded by BLM lands.

"When we think about what does conserving the park resource look like, we need to look at the larger landscape and look across the health of the entire landscape," Kirby contented. "This public lands rule is going to begin to give us that sort of tool."

The rule also identifies conservation tools to restore degraded lands and keep natural landscapes intact. Opponents said it is part of an effort to block extraction and development on public lands.

The second new rule from the BLM overhauls oil and gas drilling leasing rules to prevent poorly-sited drilling and keep development away from national parks.

Kirby stressed the changes are important.

"Taken together, these two rules really bring a semblance of balance back to our public lands," Kirby contended. "And will allow the Bureau of Land Management to actually fulfill its obligation to manage those lands for multiple uses."

The BLM manages 245 million acres of land in the U.S.

Disclosure: The National Parks Conservation Association contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species and Wildlife, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness, and Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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