New rule lets NGOs lease public land for conservation


The Biden administration issued a rule Thursday allowing individuals, businesses, nongovernmental organizations, tribes and state agencies to lease the land for conservation purposes.
The program will specifically allow for “restoration leases” and “mitigation leases.”
The restoration leases will allow for leaseholders to restore lands that have been damaged.
The mitigation leases will allow for energy companies to offset their environmental impacts by bolstering other lands.
But, these leases are not expected to be issued if they would conflict with ongoing uses of the lands..
Unlike the 2023 draft rule, the final rule includes a provision stating that “leases cannot be held by foreign persons.” Republicans, including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R), frequently raised the specter of Chinese nationals buying federal land under the terms of the draft.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland described the rule as helping to “restore balance to our public lands” in a written statement.


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