BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Acting U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is ordering federal land managers to give more consideration to public access concerns when selling or trading public land.
Thursday’s secretarial order comes amid longstanding complaints that millions of acres of state and federal land in the American West can be reached only by traveling across private property or small slivers of public land.
The order requires the Bureau of Land Management to identify alternatives to access that would be lost during land sales or exchanges.
The order could help boost Bernhardt’s credentials among conservation groups ahead of a Senate confirmation hearing next week in which Democrats are likely to highlight his past work as an energy industry lobbyist.
Bernhardt has been nominated to replace former Secretary Ryan Zinke, who resigned in January.