BLM to Host Open Houses on Proposed Withdrawal in Crucial Sage-Grouse Habitat

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Photo courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – The Bureau of Land Management today announced it will be holding eight public open houses throughout the West in February to gather input on the agency’s proposal to withdraw a subset of lands that are sage-grouse strongholds from future mining claims. This is the next step in a process that started in September 2015 with the successful efforts of the BLM and its state and federal partners to prevent the Greater Sage-Grouse from being listed under the Endangered Species Act.

The draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) analyzes five alternatives, ranging from no action to the withdrawal of approximately 10 million acres of federal locatable minerals in certain areas that are particularly crucial to the Greater Sage-Grouse in six states: Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

Neither the segregation, nor any subsequent withdrawal, would prohibit ongoing or future mining exploration or extraction operations on valid pre-existing claims.

To develop the proposal and its alternatives, the BLM held public meetings in November 2015 in the six states to gather information and comments about whether to withdraw these areas from the location of new mining claims for up to 20 years. The BLM also incorporated a mineral resource assessment prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey to help develop a reasonably foreseeable development scenario for the draft EIS.

The proposal was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 30, 2016, and carries a 90-day public comment period that will end March 30, 2017.  The scheduled open houses are as follows:

Date Location Time (all times local)
February 13 Great Northern Hotel

2 S 1st Street E

Malta, MT 59538

2 to 4 p.m.
February 14 BLM West Desert District Office

2370 S. Decker Lake Blvd

West Valley City, UT 84119

5 to 7 p.m.
February 15 BLM Rock Springs Field Office

280 Highway 191 North

Rock Springs, WY 82901

5 to 7 p.m.
February 16 Shilo Suites

780 Lindsay Blvd

Idaho Falls, ID 83402

5 to 7 p.m.
February 21 Nugget Casino Resort

1100 Nugget Ave.

Sparks, NV 89431

5 to 7 p.m.
February 22 BLM Lakeview District Office

1301 S G Street

Lakeview, OR 97630

5 to 7 p.m.
February 23 Elko Convention Center700 Moren Way

Elko, NV 89801

5 to 7 p.m.
February 24 Best Western Vista Inn

2645 W Airport Way

Boise, ID 83705

5 to 7 p.m.

This link takes you to a fact sheet, the draft EIS and Notice of Amended Proposed Withdrawal, and a map of the proposed withdrawals.  You can comment by  mailing written comments to Mark Mackiewicz, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) WO, C/O Price Field Office, 125 South 600 West, Price, Utah  84501 or by submitting electronically to sagebrush_withdrawals@blm.gov.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.  In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

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