Dec 24, 2010 2:33 PM by Greg Boyce
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has made millions of acres of federal land eligible for wilderness protections, reversing a Bush-era policy that went into effect in 2003.
That policy stated that new areas could not be recommended for wilderness protection by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. It also prevented recommended lands from being protected during the review.
Incoming Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Colorado) blasted the policy saying it allows the BLM to do an end-run around Congress by designating public lands as 'Wild Lands' areas which would then be subject to similar regulations and restrictions as that of wilderness areas.
"Secretary Salazar's decision to change the policy and usurp Congress' role in public land management is a clear indication that promises of openness and transparency were mere talking points," said Congressman-elect Tipton. "The Constitution gives exclusive control of the public lands to Congress. This decision will seriously impact the West and will add to the economic uncertainty and distress that has been hindering job creation in our area."
Tipton defeated Salazar's brother, John, in the 3rd District election last month.