Opinions on Bureau of Land Management

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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior that administers more than 247.3 million acres (1,001,000 km) of public lands in the United States constituting one-eighth of the landmass of the country. President Harry S. Truman created the BLM in 1946 by combining two existing agencies— the General Land Office and the Grazing Service. The agency in addition manages the federal government's nearly 700 million acres (2,800,000 km) of subsurface mineral estate located beneath federal, state and private lands severed from their surface rights by the Homestead Act of 1862. Most BLM public lands are located in one of 12 western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

The mission of the BLM is "to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations." Originally BLM holdings were described as "land nobody wanted" because homesteaders had passed them by. All the same, ranchers hold nearly 18,000 permits and leases for livestock grazing on 155 million acres (630,000 km) of BLM public lands. The agency manages 221 wilderness areas, 20 national monuments and some 636 other protected areas as part of the National Landscape Conservation System totaling about 30 million acres (120,000 km). There are more than 63,000 oil and gas wells on BLM public lands; total energy leases generated approximately $5.4 billion in 2013, an amount divided among the Treasury, the states and Native American groups.

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