In a speech last Wednesday in Washington, DC, Secretary Jewell set the stage for what she called “common sense reforms” to better manage our public lands. At HECHO, we applaud the Secretary for her support of a balanced approach to energy development on America’s beautiful public lands across the West.
Conserving public land is essential to the Latino way of life and the health of our communities, in the West and across the country. So hearing for the first time the Administration emphasize the success of Master Leasing Plans (MLP) was important to us at HECHO.
As we have noted in these pages before, MLPs require land managers to take a long, landscape-wide look at development – not just a piecemeal approach. As a result, uses like fishing, hunting, hiking, biking and indigenous Latino traditional cultural uses of the land are considered as part of its overall value.
MLPs help us prepare for change and be less subject to the vagaries of a boom and bust industry. The process also increases the ability for all land users to participate, so we can better assess the overall value of the public lands. As she also noted, we need to be able to identify those places that are too special to drill. We are hopeful that some of the places, like those recently noted by the Western Values Project, are taken off the table.
Secretary Jewell asked if we are doing what is needed for us to lead the world on energy, while maintaining a commitment to address climate change. The answer remains complicated. At HECHO, we know there is still more to be done. With the proposals from Secretary Jewell this week and input from all land users, we are getting closer.
Access to our public land means hunting, fishing and camping opportunities for future generations of Latinos, and carrying on the traditions of our ancestors. Just like Secretary Jewell, we too want to be sure that our future is secure for our grandchildren and their grandchildren.
We can do better. We applaud Sec. Jewell’s signal today that she is working to create a better future and to balance our land use challenges and opportunities.
[tweetthis hidden_hashtags="#PublicLands" url="http://j.mp/DOIPriorities"]Great priorities for @Interior. Thank you @SallyJewell[/tweetthis]