Most Activities on BLM-Utah Managed Lands to be Suspended due to Federal Government Shutdown
As a result of the Federal government shutdown, essentially all services provided by the Bureau of Land Management will be suspended, with the exception of law enforcement and emergency response functions. Approximately 4,000 recreation facilities, including visitor centers, facilities, campgrounds, boat ramps and other recreation sites will be closed.
With an estimated $4.8 billion in revenues in 2012, the BLM nationally returns more than four dollars for every budget dollar it receives. The BLM manages 245 million acres – more than any of the nation’s major natural resource agencies, with the smallest budget, the fewest employees, and the lowest cost.
While the BLM will maintain the minimum staffing levels required to ensure continued safe management of the nation’s energy resources, issuing new oil and gas leases and permits will cease. Limited work will continue to ensure safe operations of domestic energy supplies, including inspection and enforcement activities for more than 430 oil and gas wells on federal lands in Utah.
Recreation activities on BLM-managed lands will be similarly impacted. Public lands receive more than 57 million visitors every year, contributing more than $7 billion to local economies. In FY2012, Utah received more than 6.9 million visitors contributing millions of dollars to local economies across the state.
In Utah, BLM closures will affect nearly 60 developed recreation sites and areas, including but not limited to the Little Sahara Recreation Area, and campgrounds in the Moab area, Westwater Canyon on the Colorado River, Desolation Canyon on the Green River, and the San Juan River. Alternative camping arrangements at Utah State parks may be explored at: www.stateparks.utah.gov.
The BLM Utah will furlough 744 of its approximately 750 employees during the funding lapse. After the initial shutdown procedures are completed, the BLM Utah will maintain a total of 58 excepted employees with an additional 93 employees on call.
Suspended activities and services will include:
· non-emergency Abandoned Mine Land and hazardous-materials mitigation
· processing of oil and gas drilling permits
· processing of lease sales, permits and other non-emergency authorizations of onshore oil
and gas, coal and other minerals
· permits and approvals for renewable energy and other rights-of -way issuances
· Endangered Species Act and cultural clearances
· range management restoration
· wild horse and burro adoptions
· sand and gravel permits
· timber sales
· work on resource management plans, including those driven by court deadlines
Suspended activities will resume once Congressional approves a budget for Fiscal Year 2014.
Because the BLM website will not be maintained for the duration of the shutdown, the BLM will be re-directing visitors to Interior’s site, where additional information will be available at www.DOI.gov/shutdown, as well as at OPM.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 multiple-use mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2012, activities on public lands generated $4.6 billion in revenue, much of which was shared with the States where the activities occurred. In addition, public lands contributed more than $112 billion to the U.S. economy and helped support more than 500,000 jobs.