By The Associated Press

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has finalized a plan that allows recreational target shooting on 1.4 million acres in south-central Arizona.

The BLM had received nine protests on the plan before it was finalized late last week. Conservation groups had argued that the BLM didn't explain its rationale for target shooting and said the proposal could harm cultural resources and that the BLM's road system was inadequate.

BLM officials say the protests carefully were considered but ultimately were denied or dismissed. They say they'll promote responsible recreational shooting.

The management plan covers the Lower Sonoran Field office and the Sonoran Desert National Monument. It provides for hunting, protection of wildlife habitat and siting of utility scale renewable energy projects. Some of the land remains available for livestock grazing.