Thursday, June 02, 2011

Interior Dept. backs off new wilderness policy

The Department of the Interior will not implement a new, controversial policy to protect wilderness-quality lands in the West, Secretary Ken Salazar announced Wednesday. The decision, made under "intense political pressure . . . drew cheers from Western critics but was attacked by environmental groups as a retreat from common-sense conservation," Phil Taylor of Environment & Energy News reports. The move "also resolves a likely battle over the Bureau of Land Management's 2012 budget and could render moot parts of a pair of lawsuits filed in Utah seeking to block the agency's wilderness policy." (Read more, subscription required)

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