Public Comment Period Opens for the San Rafael Swell Mine Openings Closure

PRICE, Utah — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Price Field Office (PFO) announces a 30-day public comment period for the San Rafael Swell Abandoned Mine Closure Project Environmental Assessment (EA). The comment period begins on February 4, 2011, and concludes on March 7, 2011.

The project area is located in Emery County, Utah, about 140 miles south of Salt Lake City and 35 miles south of Price. It is generally located within the San Rafael Swell physiographic province. The project area is situated between the towns of Emery on the west, Green River on the east, and Hanksville on the south.

One-hundred seventy-two openings are proposed for closure in the San Rafael Abandoned Mine Closure Project, of which 156 (91 percent) are on lands managed by the BLM PFO. The remaining openings are located on lands managed by the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA). The openings on BLM lands will be fully funded by the BLM; no Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMRCA) funds will be expended to close mine openings on BLM lands. The only SMCRA funds which will be used are for the administration of, and the physical hazard abatement of, the 16 mine opening closures located on SITLA land.

The purpose of the proposed action is to improve public safety, reduce the risk of accidental death or injury, and reduce BLM’s liability. The BLM plans to close the mine openings, while minimizing impacts to important historical resources (including cold war era mining resources), which the BLM has determined deserve protection through the recently completed land use planning process. In addition, this project supports Utah BLM’s abandoned mine reclamation program and Abandoned Mine Reclamation Plan mandated under Title IV of SMCRA.

A hard copy of the EA is available from the BLM Price Field Office at 125 South 600 West, Price, Utah. The document is available on-line at:

The BLM Price Field Office welcomes comments on the San Rafael Swell Abandoned Mine Closure Project EA and asks that submitted comments be as specific as possible. Comments which contain only opinions or preferences will not receive a formal response. However, they will be considered in the BLM decision-making process. The most useful comments are those that contain new technical or scientific information, identify issues relevant to the proposal, identify data gaps in the impact analysis, identify additional mitigation measures or alternatives, or provide technical or scientific rationale for opinions or preferences.

Please refer to “San Rafael Swell Abandoned Mine Closure Project” on all correspondence. If email is used, please reference the EA in the subject line. Written comments will be accepted by fax, email, or letter through March 7, 2011. Please send all comments to:

Bureau of Land Management
Attn: Chris Conrad
Price Field Office
125 South 600 West
Price, UT 84501
Fax: (435) 636-3657

Please include your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information with your comments. BLM will not consider anonymous comments. Please be aware that entire comments, including personal identifying information, may be made available to the public at any time. Requests can be made to withhold personal identifying information from the public review; however, such requests cannot be guaranteed. All submissions from organizations, businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses will be available for public inspection in their entirety.

For further information please contact Stephanie Howard, NEPA Coordinator, at (435) 781-4469.

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