New Mexico – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is ordering federal land managers to consider conservation as the primary focus of some 27 million acres of public lands in the West.
Environmental groups had been seeking the secretarial order to further protect the conservation lands, which include Nevada's Red Rock Canyon and other sites. The order was signed Monday.
Salazar's order clarifies that the Bureau of Land Management should treat conservation as a top priority in managing the 27-million acre National Landscape Conservation System. The bureau also promote grazing, energy development and tourism.
The Clinton administration created the system in 2000 to protect and restore nationally significant landscapes, mostly in the West. Congress formally approved the landscape system last year.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.