Press releases are dry, boilerplate-filled publications. We read tons of them every day here and the structure of pressers rarely draw much interest. Except for a strange turn in those released by the Bureau of Land Management recently.

At the end of every press release in recent years, the BLM tacked on the following line as part of their mission statement: “The BLM’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.”

But as first noticed by HuffPo, that sustainability-focused line has been cut from all BLM releases as of last week.

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Instead, they move right to the economic value of the lands with the following blurb:

“The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $96 billion in sales of goods and services throughout the American economy in fiscal year 2017. These activities supported more than 468,000 jobs.”

The change is right in line with a federal agency that has prioritized fossil fuel and mining extraction on public lands, a doubling down on energy independence at the expense of conservation and protection of lands. Stripping language about maintaining the health and diversity of public lands while espousing how much money is there to be made in mining and resource extraction certainly signals how the BLM views the lands under its jurisdiction.

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Does it mean much? Maybe, maybe not. But it does seem like a deliberate shift in tone for the sole purpose of a rebranding effort, acknowledging a change in the BLM’s priorities. Having said that, the line about sustainability and ecosystem health is still on the BLM’s website. For now.

 


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