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December 24, 2010 | By Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times
Restoring a policy abandoned by the George W. Bush administration, the top Interior official on Thursday gave the agency that manages 245 million acres of public land the authority to temporarily protect pristine areas of the West. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who issued the order, called it "a new chapter in terms of how we take care of our Bureau of Land Management lands. " Salazar's directive casts aside a Bush policy that was adopted after an out-of-court settlement between then-Interior Secretary Gale Norton and the state of Utah.
November 20, 2010 | By Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times
The federal Bureau of Land Management failed to follow its own safety and regulatory procedures during an August off-road desert race in San Bernardino County in which eight spectators were killed after a racer crashed into a crowd, an internal agency report released Friday concluded. Similar failures for permitted off-road events occurred throughout the 11 million acres of California desert under the federal agency's control, the report found. "We are cooperating fully with the California Highway Patrol's ongoing investigation into the accident, but our own internal review found we did not follow agency procedures in permitting and overseeing the event," acting BLM State Director Jim Abbott said in a prepared statement released Friday.
August 20, 2010 | By Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times
The federal Bureau of Land Management on Thursday suspended all off-road racing events organized by Mojave Desert Racing Productions, the promoter in charge of the race where eight spectators were killed last weekend. A spokesman for the federal agency said the suspension will remain in place while federal officials investigate the tragedy at the California 200 off-road race in San Bernardino County's Lucerne Valley. "The BLM is continuing to cooperate with state and local law enforcement agencies in the ongoing investigation into Saturday night's tragic accident at Johnson Valley Open Area," Stephen Razo, spokesman for the agency's California's desert district office, said in a statement.
August 19, 2010 | By Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times
California's two U.S. senators Wednesday called on the federal Bureau of Land Management to explain why "proper precautions" were not in place for a Mojave Desert off-road race at which eight spectators were killed in a crash. In a letter to BLM Director Bob Abbey, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer asked the agency to explain what safety measures were required during the California 200 nighttime race, held on desert land overseen by the federal agency in the Lucerne Valley.
August 17, 2010
Perhaps a name change is in order for some agencies under the U.S. Interior Department umbrella. These days at least two of them would more accurately be referred to as the Minerals Mismanagement Service and the Bureau of Land Mismanagement. The Minerals Management Service is charged with overseeing offshore oil and gas leases; it's the agency that failed to require a realistic emergency response plan from BP before giving its Deepwater Horizon rig permission to drill. It has also been at the center of assorted scandals involving employees who accepted gifts or solicited jobs from the oil companies they were supposed to regulate.
August 16, 2010 | By Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times
In company safety rules, the promoter of the California 200 off-road race where eight spectators died says that fans must stay at least 100 feet away from the course. But videos of Saturday's crash and the promoter's other races show crowds regularly lining the track, just feet away from speeding off-roaders. Mojave Desert Racing of El Monte also failed to adhere to a requirement in its contract with the Bureau of Land Management to keep spectators 50 feet away from the racing vehicles.
July 27, 2009
What could be more authentically Western than a herd of mustangs thundering across the range as windblown tumbleweeds roll across their path? A lot of things, actually. Both horses and tumbleweeds, or Russian thistle, were introduced from overseas, and both wreak environmental havoc. The thistle was imported accidentally on ships carrying grain; the horse's history goes back hundreds of years to the first Spanish explorers.
November 19, 2008 | TIMES WIRE REPORTS
Madeleine Pickens, wife of oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens, said she would create a refuge for wild horses after the Bureau of Land Management said it might have to kill some to control the herds and protect the range. About 33,000 wild horses and burros roam the open range in 10 Western states, half of those in Nevada. The BLM wants the population to be about 27,000, to protect the herd, the range and other foraging animals. Horses that are too old or unadoptable are sent to long-term holding facilities.
November 25, 2007 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Big Water, Utah So there I was, standing with about 30 other hikers in boots and backpacks, jammed into a room no bigger than a double-wide in a one-story beige government building in a destitute moonscape otherwise known as southern Utah on a warm Friday morning. If I sound surprised, I suppose I was. The day before I had flown to Flagstaff, Ariz., rented a car and driven more than two hours to Page, near the Utah border. I'd then gotten up early for a 30-minute drive to Big Water, only to find myself in the kind of hardscrabble wasteland that even rattlesnakes would be embarrassed to call home.
June 26, 2007 | Henry Weinstein, Times Staff Writer
A Wyoming rancher cannot use the federal racketeering law to seek damages against employees of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management whom he accused of harassment, the Supreme Court ruled Monday . The unanimous decision reversed a federal appeals court ruling. The earlier ruling had government officials fearing that if the high court permitted the case to proceed, it would spawn a bevy of litigation against federal employees merely trying to do their jobs.
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