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The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is backing away from a plan to make millions of acres of undeveloped land in the west of the country eligible for federal wilderness protection.Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a memo to his agency that officials will not designate any public lands as "wild lands." Instead, Salazar said the agency will work with members of the U.S. Congress to develop recommendations for managing the undeveloped land in the west.
A copy of the memo was obtained by The Associated Press news agency.
Salazar's decision reverses an order issued in December 2010 to make millions of acres of public land eligible for wilderness protection. A budget deal approved by Congress prevented the Interior Department from spending money to implement the wilderness policy. Several western states filed suit to block the plan.