Trump administration goes after California desert with one-two punch

Credit: Bob Wick/BLM

The Trump administration is putting even more American desert up for grabs. The Bureau of Land Management issued a notice to remove an Obama-era temporary ban on new mining claims on 1.3 million acres in Southern California. The environmentally sensitive land had previously been set aside for conservation while the mining ban underwent legal review. The BLM has now stopped the review process, including the area’s environmental impact statement, concluding that mining does not pose a “significant threat to the protection of cultural, biological, and scientific values.” The notice came just a few days after the Trump administration suggested dismantling the critical Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, an Obama-era strategy to balance the state’s renewable energy goals with its conservation priorities in the delicate Mojave Desert. We sense a theme: The BLM began allowing prospectors to stake claims on previously protected land in Utah's Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments just last week—and open season for claims in the newly opened areas of California starts March 9.

Related Content