FLPMA (pronounced Flip-ma) is the common abbreviation for the Federal Land Policy Management Act. Is is simultameously one of the most beneficial and detrimental acts that Congress has put into action.

FLPMA was an act made by the BLM - Bureau of Land Management - in 1976, requiring that all aspects of the use of all BLM land be taken into equal consideration of use. That means that things like biological conservation, silviculturalism, agriculture, cattle grazing, and bird watching should all have equal weight in any decisions made on the management of BLM land. This should be rather obvious, due to the fact that BLM land is, by definition, public land owned by the government. If it is public, then all people should be able to use it equally. However, when industries like cattle ranching and silviculturalism come into the picture, two industries which are mutually exclusive, one has to make a choice.

That is why FLPMA immediately required there to be an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on each parcel of BLM land. Environmental Impact Statements are basically proposals which are made by each interested party who are lobbying for the use of BLM lands which outline how the land would be used and why the land would support their industry best. In the cast of FLPMA, the BLM chose the mildest solution every time, never learning towards one concern over the other. This sounds like a good thing at first, but as one remembers that some lands are obviously better used for one purpose or another, it begins sounding remarkably indecisive.

The Federal Land Policy Management Act was closely followed by the National Parks Management Act, which basically did the same thing, except for the United States Forest Service lands, as opposed to those of the Bureau of Land Management.

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