WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is backing away from a plan to make millions of acres of undeveloped land in the West eligible for federal wilderness protection.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a memo to his agency that officials will not designate any public lands as “wild lands.” Instead Salazar said the agency will work with members of Congress to develop recommendations for managing millions of acres of undeveloped land in the West. A copy of the memo was obtained by The Associated Press.
Salazar’s decision reverses an order issued in December to make millions of acres of public land eligible for wilderness protection. A budget deal approved by Congress prevented the Interior Department from spending money to implement the wilderness policy. Several Western states filed suit to block the plan.