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Thu Aug 8, 2019, 07:58 PM

Cuts To Public Advisory Groups Spark Concern

Oregon's senators want to spare the volunteer groups that advise the Bureau of Land Management from proposed cuts, warning that getting rid of the groups could hinder the public from managing public lands.

An executive order from President Donald Trump in June called for each executive department and agency across the federal government to evaluate the need for its current advisory committees and cut at least one-third of them by the end of September. In a July 23 letter to Trump, Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley raised concerns over the impact the order would have on the Bureau of Land Management's Resource Advisory Councils. The senators, both Democrats, called for exempting BLM's councils.

"RACs carry considerable weight in their work to inform public land management decisions on issues related to forestry, recreation, grazing, mining, oil and gas exploration, and wildfire management," the letter stated. "RACs have a history of promoting collaboration and helping agencies prevent or resolve litigation."

Trump's order—"Evaluating and Improving the Utility of Federal Advisory Committees"—specifies that the cuts should include committees whose goals have been met, whose work has become obsolete, whose main functions have been taken on by another entity or whose costs of operating have exceeded the benefits they provide. Agencies could seek waivers.

Read more: https://www.bendsource.com/bend/cuts-to-public-advisory-groups-spark-concern/Content?oid=10912886

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