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Silence Over Wild Lands Policy Could End Soon

Kirk Siegler
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's "Wild Lands" secretarial order has been praised by conservationists and Democrats, and criticized by the oil and gas industry and many Republicans.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the Obama Administration is close to announcing how it will move forward with a controversial “Wild Lands” policy now that Congress has stripped funding for its implementation for this year. 

This week, House Democrats sent a letter to the Obama Administration urging the Department of Interior to enforce its “Wild Lands” order under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. 

Asked for a response while in Denver Thursday, Secretary Salazar kept his cards close to his chest.

"I’m working on it even today," Salazar told KUNC. "I’ve been working on making sure that we have clarity in how we move forward, and we’ll be making an announcement on that in the next several weeks."

The order had restored a provision that allowed the Bureau of Land Management to manage millions of acres of lands in Colorado and across the West as potential wilderness.  Republicans and the oil and gas industry say the move closed off access to important energy resources. 

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.
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