The Bureau of Land Management, which administers 245 million acres of public land, changed its homepage image from an idyllic backpacking scene to a stark coal backdrop.
A picturesque photo of two backpackers watching the sunset that adorned the homepage of the Bureau Of Land management (BLM) was changed Thursday. Now, a coal seam occupies the space. The impetus for this shift isn’t known.
However, Trump’s recent support of the the coal industry, and the administration’s prioritization of mineral extraction, coupled with the image raised ire on social media.
In addition to the Bureau’s 245 million acres of public land, the agency also oversees the federal government’s 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate — oil and gas included.
Recently, Secretary Ryan Zinke issued a lease for 56 million tons of coal to be extracted in central Utah. Regardless of the intentions behind the homepage shift, coal is gaining more and more attention across America.
Editor’s note: As of April 7, the image has since changed to a fly fisherman.
BLM Homepage Controversy
Twitter was quick to notice the change, and comment on its implications. Here are a few of the responses, from both satirists and organizations.
— Jonathan P. Thompson (@jonnypeace) April 6, 2017
— Greenpeace USA (@greenpeaceusa) April 6, 2017
— Kees van der Leun (@Sustainable2050) April 7, 2017
— Hunter Cutting (@HunterCutting) April 6, 2017
The BLM downplayed the online uproar.
Kristen Lenhardt, agency spokeswoman, told NBC the new image “reflects the many uses our public lands have to offer.”
She went on. “The coal photo posted…started a weekly rotation of our website banner.”
So it appears the banner could change at any time. We’ll have to watch and see.