Newsline

Newsline , Society

No One Is Above the Law? Biden’s Bureau of Land Management Thinks It Is.

Posted on Wednesday, August 30, 2023
|
by Outside Contributor
|
59 Comments
|
Print
Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management's Logo on a blue background

One central characteristic of the Biden administration is its contempt for the letter of the law. When laws interfere with overriding political objectives, they are cast aside, and the courts are often forced to clean up the mess.

Nowhere is this norm-busting reality more pronounced than at the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), whose leasing of federal lands for fossil-fuel production has become ever-more politicized since the day Biden took office.

The BLM is authorized to manage federal lands under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976. Under the explicit language of the FLPMA, the “principal or major uses” of the public lands “includes, and is limited to, domestic livestock grazing, fish and wildlife development and mineral exploration and production, rights-of-way, outdoor recreation, and timber production.”

Notwithstanding the statutory inclusion of “mineral exploration and production” as one of the “principal or major uses,” total acreage under lease for oil and gas operations on federal lands is at its lowest level since the 1940s. The number of new leases declined from 1,729 in fiscal 2012, and 1,841 in fiscal 2019, to 120 last year. Acreage in new leases has declined from 1.75 million in fiscal 2012, and 2.25 million in fiscal 2019, to just 74,758 in fiscal 2022.

Not content with this slow strangulation of fossil-fuel leasing on federal lands, the Biden BLM has now decided simply to remove whole swaths of land from leasing consideration altogether. The latest example of this new approach is the recent BLM regulatory proposal — its “preferred alternative” — to bar new oil and gas leasing across roughly 1.6 million acres in Colorado.

Amusingly, the BLM says in its draft regulation that the federal lands to be excluded from leasing have “no-known, low and medium oil and gas development potential” for fossil-fuel production, as if Beltway bureaucrats were better at determining such potential than industry participants betting their own money.

Less publicized, and less amusing, is the dark reality that this proposal is the result of a typical “sue-and-settle” racket, in which environmentalists and federal bureaucrats agree to settle environmental litigation on terms satisfying the ideological and bureaucratic preferences of both sides. Who represents the taxpayers or the states or the economy writ large in such backroom dealing? No one does.

The Colorado land grab is not unique; similar policies have been implemented in New Mexico and other Western states on federal lands with significant exploration potential. This represents an expanding politicization of federal land management in flagrant violation of the letter of the law.

In a separate proposed rule, the BLM now argues that “conservation” is a “use” of federal lands “on par with other uses” under the FLPMA. Except that no, it is not. FLPMA is very clear that the “principal or major uses” are “limited to” the ones listed in the text, and this does not include “conservation” or other uses politically favored or fashionable. “Conservation” may be a secondary “use” consistent with the FLPMA, but it is not a “principal or major use” and therefore cannot be “on par” with principal or major uses.

To the Biden administration, the law is irrelevant. The Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 requires onshore oil and gas leasing “at least quarterly,” yet it deliberately violated the law by refusing to hold such lease sales. The lease sale last May was the first in almost a year. The Biden administration conducted auctions in only one of its first six quarters in office, but now has announced a lease sale on November 30 for oil and gas resources on BLM land in New Mexico and Oklahoma.

During the Obama administration, the Supreme Court struck down the Environmental Protection Agency Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS). Gina McCarthy, then the Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator, dismissed the court decision because most power plants affected by the rule already had made the investments needed to comply with it, and many others had shut down because of the attendant costs. That McCarthy found this outcome highly favorable illustrated her contempt for the rule of law.

The same was true of her observation that there are “very compelling reasons” for electric utilities to continue to treat the rule as a requirement, even though it had been struck down as unlawful. Who does that Supreme Court majority they think they are, anyway?

So much for the rule of law, then. And the Biden administration has expanded its hostility toward the laws dramatically. Such are the fruits of prioritization of ideological and bureaucratic imperatives above constitutional principles.

Benjamin Zycher is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he works on energy and environmental policy. Zycher has a doctorate in economics from UCLA, a Master in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from UCLA.

Reprinted with Permission from AEI.org – By Benjamin Zycher

Share this article:
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
59 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
PaulE
PaulE
9 months ago

With the hard left running the county, they are now free to employ the full power of the federal bureaucracy to ignore any law that displeases them. Let us be completely honest here: Rule of Law is dead and buried in this country. That should be plainly obvious to how the so-called justice system has been effectively weaponized over the last decade. Rule of Law has been replaced by the power of the state to crush anything that is outside what they favor at the moment.

Sure, one can then go through a very lengthy (years, if not decades in the courts) and very costly legal process (millions upon millions in legal fees and countless opportunity costs squandered due to time lost) to potentially get a ruling that would allow for the original lawful use of the land, but that is becoming both cost and time prohibitive to more and more companies seeking to do business in the United States. Which by the way is the message the left wants to send private enterprise in this country. What originally would have been a cost-effective oil or natural gas exploration, and production project is quickly transformed into an unprofitable waste of time, money and resources that will never be recouped, even if the company wins in court after a protracted legal battle.

Banks have been directed by this administration, via their regulators, to NOT lend to domestic oil and natural gas projects in the United States. So, financing has already become a major issue. The arbitrary and capricious manner of the various Executive Branch agencies, not just the BLM as referenced in this article, add new and expensive hurdles that a company has to jump over just to start a project. Much less complete productive weel heads and start generating a return on investment. As a result, many large energy companies now longer even seek to do domestic oil and natural gas projects in the United States. They strictly look for opportunities abroad, where governments are less hostile or they do like Exxon or others, who have hopped on the ESG wagon, and simply started transitioning to pushing Chinese solar panel or Chinese windmill projects. The smaller domestic players in the energy space has retrenched into simply managing their existing wells until they can catch a takeover bid from a larger player. Sorry if I used some financial terms you might not be aware of, but the reality is these ruinous policies have very long-term consequences people need to understand. Our domestic energy industry in this country is being intentionally hollowed out, so it will take years or longer to ever get us back to where we were before Biden was installed in the White House.

Allowing this administration to remain in power will indeed be a very costly and long-term problem for this country going forward. We risk doing to the domestic oil and natural gas sector of the economy what we did to our manufacturing base under Clinton, Bush and Obama. Yet that seems to be the direction the people are committed to.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
9 months ago

The whole Biden admin acts like Its Above the Law

USN Retired
USN Retired
9 months ago

Right out of the Marxist Manifesto, destroy the economy, then big government can step in and take over to “save the day.” Biden administration is marching right along on that path.

Lawrence Greenberg
Lawrence Greenberg
9 months ago

This is just another reason why this illegitimate, corrupt, criminal, treasonous administration needs to be removed from power as soon as possible.

Rik
Rik
9 months ago

“The Law is For Thee, Not Me!” seems to be the motto of the “Ruling” Democratic Leadership. . . . The Republicans ALWAYS seem to be 3 steps behind!

Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
9 months ago

Comment about comment I just made a few minutes ago — I mentioned that this is the land of the free and the home of the brave. The spell check system entered the word Will after the word Free. Spell check system error not mine. I do believe that some involved with that spell check system are On the Moon — making errors by adding things to what someone has written after it has been sent is very wrong. It needs to be fixed.

Phillip Nagle
Phillip Nagle
9 months ago

The current government has total contempt for the law everywhere, beginning with the White House. The DOJ and FBI have become totally politicized, the Department of Homeland Security refuses to enforce the southern border and the Department of Education ignores educating children. Biden keeps coming up with schemes that turn out to be totally unconstitutional.

Allan E Brem
Allan E Brem
9 months ago

The Bribeden criminal enterprise has taken it upon itself to determine what is a crime and what laws are applicable to the left.

Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
9 months ago

Complex situations are often the result of the administration disregarding the law. Unless corrected complex situations can lead to more complex situations. One way to correct the adverse effects of an administration that has disregarded the law is to think in a optimistic way , about how to deal with the difficulty. A positive thought pattern will lead to other positive thought patterns. This is comparable to rebuilding anything after any sort of disaster. What can be salvaged, size up the situation, keep a spirit in place that is a spirit of No Surrender — to any dishonorable enemy of freedom. This is the land of the Free Will and the home of the Brave, this is the United States of America. Those of us who believe in respect for law, respect for the will of God, respect for, truth and the principles of Faith, Family and Freedom this is Our Country — it is not the country of the dishonorable enemies of freedom. Remember the last sentence of the Declaration of Independence — ” And in support of this Declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, our Sacred Honor.” There are genuine indications that better days are ahead –in the relatively near future, let Liberty be the watchword, think about the idea of Victory for Truth . Having a sense of purpose, and a code of conduct that has respect for Law at the foundation will help to rebuild this Nation . Evil forces have been defeated before by the forces of Good here in the United States, and we can do it again. It is already underway ! So, Joy to the World and Merry Christmas to all the true patriots who believe in and care about the principles that this Country has stood for since the 1700’s. This is serious stuff , all the more reason to maintain a respectful, uplifting sense of humor. Respect for what is right and honorable, I reckon that is the right course to follow.

Ken
Ken
9 months ago

Leftists proving once again that they hate America.

Bob L.
Bob L.
9 months ago

The Bureau of Land Management – another of numerous unconstitutional government agencies that should be abolished.

Concerned
Concerned
9 months ago

I think it is time to return most if not all BLM Federal land back to the States. Get the Feds out of the land business. How did they get it in the first place? Must have been a time when most people trusted the Feds.

Thinking
Thinking
9 months ago

Biden administration are the law court and judge. They do not and will not listen to a higher court.
Make their law fit their narrative. In other words a dictatorship. Or as ordered by the elite.

David Millikan
David Millikan
9 months ago

Dictator Beijing biden and Communist harris both believe they are Above the Law. Just like SWAMP QUEEN pelosi’s INSIDE TRADING and the rest of the Fascist democrats. Don’t forget H. Clinton DESTROYING government property and PAYING for the Russia Hoax Dossier with the DNC help.
All they have done has PROVEN they are TRAITORS and HATE the
UNITED STATES of AMERICA.

Lawrence Greenberg
Lawrence Greenberg
9 months ago

As I have been asking for some time now: Where do we go, to whom do we turn, for enforcement of the law and the administration of justice when those whose function and responsibility it is to enforce the law and administer justice (the DOJ and the AG) not only choose not to do so, but are themselves engaged in breaking the law? What do we do?

Mamabear
Mamabear
9 months ago

When the only rule of law is your own belief system, you can do whatever you please… and they do.

GI RETIRED
GI RETIRED
9 months ago

Put them ALL IN JAIL

Randall L. Beatty
Randall L. Beatty
9 months ago

There is so much corruption when it comes to the BLM this may not seem important but our natural resource which is our mustangs and burros they replace these animals with cattle there is a place for both instead the BLM send the mustangs and burros to Mexico and Canada to be slaughtered they are also placed in holding pens where they die as well years ago the mustangs and burrows were given permanent homes on land that had been there for generations this is how the BLM handles our land the cattle destroy the land and that is just the beginning what the BLM does.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
9 months ago

We’ve all been going about this all wrong: since bribes seem to be effective, everyone should send $1 to Biden so he’ll open up the Keystone Pipeline and public leases so we can have affordable gas prices once again!

Darrell L Brown
Darrell L Brown
9 months ago

In my opinion, ALL Federal land should be given to the states wherein they lie. The Fed’s do now pay taxes on this land to the states. Instead they pay PILT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes, which is a pittance compared to what land owners have to pay to their respective states. If the Government wants to place a Federal Facility IE: National Park, Military Post, Etc, The Government should LEASE such land from the State for a fair market value. This LEASE would generate revenue for the State and defray any cost to the State for infrastructure associated with such land use.

Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis
9 months ago

Independent government agencies deny taxpayers representation. Congress should defund them all! If Congress does not have the time or staff to write regulations that have the force of law, then they need to reduce the role of government to the founder’s definition.
Great example is the FED. Jean Pierre called it an independent government agency. It is not. The FED is a bunch of rich boy bankers. Congress turned currency responsibility over to the FED in 1913. Since 1970 the dollar has lost 98% of its value.

james
james
9 months ago

It is not clear that the Biden Administration and their ruling Democratic Party regard the Constitution of the USA as a viable document. This is consistent with every other subversive organization existing in the USA.

pete
pete
9 months ago

The EPA has unrestricted rulemaking in the licensing and permitting of plants EVEN OVER THINGS THAT HAVE NO BEARING ON POLUTION WHATSOEVER. In the late 70’s wouldn’t permit HL &P (now Reliant) to even put gas lines under the coal units at WA Parrish generating station so they could be converted to gas–and this would have been beneficial from the pollution standpoint —Nixon had issued his executive order that all boiler fuel was to be coal, and they pushed the rule to the max. Now those units have sequestration units. I could write a pretty long treatise on the stupid restrictions they put on plants that make them harder and more expensive to operate. The Eco-Gestapo has been nothing but a political beast since its inception–much of it has nothing to do with bettering the environment— just powerplay.

Lee Howell
Lee Howell
9 months ago

Never in the history of ever, has a criminal organization had so much power. We should have made sure we had a way to stop this.

Backwoods
Backwoods
9 months ago

Can you say POLICE STATE?

Robert Chase
Robert Chase
9 months ago

More reason for FED reset! We do not need these czars ruling the roost in the far too numerous bureaus and agencies. This is not their land. OUR land should be administered for OUR benefit rather than for the corrupt partners to corrupt officials. Take their agenda and shove it out the door!

CLIFFORD F GERACI
CLIFFORD F GERACI
9 months ago

81M Americans chose this authoritive Government for themselves. The people have spoken, they want a higher cost of living, more crime in our cities, more illegal immigration, less choices on store shelves. They would rather destroy the American way of life in order to kill their unborn children and get free stuff like food stamps. Liberalism is a mental disease which gets progressively worse over time, that’s why they are called Progressives.

Jjle
Jjle
9 months ago

Throughout the ages men and their parties have tried to rule the world and, failed. Ever wonder why more government leaders do not learn from past history. Number 1; because they do not study truly study past history. Number 2; self interest and greed.
Around the world citizens of all other countries laugh at America and Americans because of all the lawlessness in America today. It is embarrassing to see that it’s true and, to know that a large number of people within our government do not know how to govern. Do not adhere to the oath they took when they took the job. Term limits for all government employees elected, appointed or otherwise should be on the election ballots.
Americans have become very lazy, with the government should give me this or that. Those Americans that want never ending handouts should move to third world countries where you have only what government thinks you should have, if anything. Maybe they would learn to appreciate what it means to be a true hard working American with a voice in what goes on in respective federal and state governments. It appears that drug use by all ages and lack of interest in educating our children has brought down our morals and our country for all the world to see, to laugh at, and to take advantage of. It’s so sad that I want to cry,

Tom
Tom
9 months ago

Environmentalists are communists. Periods. All communists are best, composted.

Soby
Soby
9 months ago

BLM, has been above and beyond the reach of any beauracracy for a damn long time! It seems as though they answer to no one! They seem as though they are the CARZs, over all public land and if it doesn’t fit their agenda it’s not going to happen! They have run rampant for the 30 plus years with absolutely no oversight, come to think about so has the government, only because people bury their heads in the sand!

Drue
Drue
9 months ago

As usual, Bidenomics is killing our country. Someone please stop this foolishness!!

Drue
Drue
9 months ago

As usual, Bidenomics is strangling our country.

Harry
Harry
9 months ago

I wouldn’t trust Gina McCarthy any farther than I could trust anybody in the Biden Administration!

Robin W Boyd
Robin W Boyd
9 months ago

As they always do, Progressives in government took a good idea and abused it for political power. Teddy Roosevelt started the putting certain land aside to preserve it for the use of American citizens by protecting natural wonders from being destroyed for commercial use. Now government takes control of lands to prevent it from best use for American citizens. U.S. government has grown into a monster. We the People must stop feeding that monster in order to bring it down to a manageable size.

Charlotte
Charlotte
9 months ago

Our so-called leader thinks he is King Joseph the 1st….not the president of a Democratic Republic which has a Constitution that, when followed keeps our laws in tact! It is going to take a miracle to stop the Marxists among us from totally cheating in the upcoming general election. We already see how biased media, the sports and Hollywood industries and the largest of our corporations are falling all over themselves to assist the Marxists to control our country. At this point, I am praying that somehow we are able to elect a very strong, America-loving person to lead us out of this horrendous nightmare.

Cb
Cb
9 months ago

This and the past demorat administrations have all neem corrupt. Then there are the rinos of my former party. They should all be hung or shot for treason. I have maintained for 50 years that someone should drop a nuke on the capital during the state of the nonunion and take care of the problem.

Dennis
Dennis
9 months ago

‘Law’ and ‘Order’ is an idea, not a reality any longer. Bums such as KKKJoe Biden change laws when it suits them to do so, especially when these types such as he have committed (exposed) crimes.

heil biden
heil biden
9 months ago

GET READY FOR PACKING THE SUPREME COURT

johnh
johnh
9 months ago

No one is above the law & the time is here that both Biden & Trump will answer to this. A start today was Rudy G is liable for defamation of the two election workers in Georgia. Russia can do this kind of stuff to their citizens, but I am glad to see that no one is above the law when you ruin the lives of two innocent American citizens.

sdg
sdg
9 months ago

Kill them all, its war, time to stop working, grab our guns & KILL ALL ON THE LEFT!!!!!!!!!!!

An older blonde women laughing in the kitchen with a grey haired man.
AMAC’s Medicare Advisory Service
The knowledge, guidance, and choices of coverage you’re looking for. The exceptional service you deserve.
The AMAC App on 3 different iPhone
Download the AMAC App
The AMAC App is the place to go for insightful news wherever you are and whenever you want.
Advocacy word concept on cubes
The US Democrat Party. LONDON, UK - DECEMBER 18TH 2017: The Donkey symbol of the Democrat Party, with the American flag behind it, on 18th December 2017.
Wooden judge gavel and soundboard laying over US flag. Hammer and gavel. American law and justice concept. bidding concept.

Stay informed! Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter.

"*" indicates required fields

59
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Subscribe to AMAC Daily News and Games