Jun 12, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Agriculture secretary directs national forests be used for more mining, oil and gas

A birds eye view of trees being cut down

Sun Mountain Logging employee Jeremy Lott operates a stroke boom delimber in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest in September 2019. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue directed the USDA Forest Service on Friday to prioritize resource extraction in national forests and grasslands, particularly for grazing, mining, oil and gas development.

Our thought bubble via Axios' Amy Harder: The move shows how deep into the federal bureaucracy the Trump administration is reaching to remove regulations and, it argues, help the economy recover from the pandemic-induced recession.

Yes, but: The memo isn't a new direction, per Bloomberg Law: "The directive encapsulates efforts already underway at the Forest Service, which is working on revamping its oil, gas, and mining regulations in a way that would promote faster decisions on oil and gas drilling and mining."

Details: Perdue is directing the Forest Service to expedite broadband development, allow for more grazing on national grasslands, and use the land to "identify new opportunities to increase America's energy dominance."

Go deeper: USDA Forest Service plans to expand logging in Tongass National Forest

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