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Landlords of the West: The BLM and U.S. Forest Service

By John McChesney, Director of the Rural West Initiative

The federal Bureau of Land Management controls 256 million acres, mostly west of the Mississippi, and 700 million acres of subsurface mineral land. It manages well more than half of all the land in states like Nevada and Utah. Arguably, the BLM has more impact on the rural West than any other government agency, local, state or federal. It governs grazing rights, logging, mineral extraction, and recreational use. The agency is often in hot controversy on the local leve. Nationally, it is regularly buffeted by changes in administrations pursuing different policies for conservation and mineral extraction. The same goes for the Forest Service, except that it falls under a different federal agency, the Department of Agriculture. As part of the Rural West Initiative, we are examing the changing relationship between these important national landlords, the states, and local communities in the rural West.

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Last modified Wed, 1 Jun, 2011 at 12:58