A Public Lands Agenda for the New Administration

Given the overarching issue of climate change, it’s probably unrealistic to assume that the question of how best to manage the nation’s public lands will be an immediate priority of the Obama Administration.  And the economic crisis currently confronting the U.S. likely pushes environmental issues off the top tier of the Administration’s priority list as a general proposition–at least temporarily.

But creating a new public lands agenda for America remains hugely important–especially after eight years of neglect, corruption and mismanagement by the Bush Administration.  And a group of U.C. Berkeley Law faculty has provided a “top ten” list of recommendations to President Obama and Secretary of the Interior Salazar, to do just that.  “Restoring the Public Trust in the Public Lands: An Agenda for the New Administration” has just been published by Ecology Law Currents, the new, online publication of Berkeley Law’s venerable Ecology Law Quarterly.

Authored by Berkeley Law Professors Eric Biber, Holly Doremus, Dan Farber, Joe Sax and this writer, “Restoring the Public Trust” takes a hard look at the most daunting challenges currently facing the nation’s federal lands and the policymakers responsible for their management.   The article specifically proposes ten important public lands issues that the Obama Administration can–and should–address through executive order or regulation, without the need for action by Congress.  These include management of roadless areas, accelerating development of alternative energy sources on federal lands, managing public lands for climate change, and fire management practices.  Check it out.

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