CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A candidate to lead an agency that oversees public lands totaling one-eighth of the U.S. says environmentalists mischaracterize her as an advocate of handing those areas over to private interests.

Wyoming attorney Karen Budd-Falen drew dozens of protesters at a recent land-use forum in Montana.

Budd-Falen tells The Associated Press in an interview that a land-transfer advocate invited her to the forum but she has no opinion on transferring federal land to the private sector or state and local governments.

She says her legal work focuses more on writing local government land-use plans so they comply with federal law.

Budd-Falen says she interviewed in March to direct the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. An Interior Department official declined to say if she's still in the running for the job.

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