The BLM is holding a series of public meetings across the west to gather information on a proposal to withdraw 10 million acres of land to protect sage grouse. The withdrawal could be problematic for the mining industry as much of the land has mining claims. The Idaho Mining Association (IMA) will be testifying at the Boise hearing in opposition to the withdrawal proposal. A schedule of the meeting is below.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is holding a series of public meetings across the west to gather information on a proposal to withdraw lands from location and entry under the 1872 Mining Law. The BLM is also extending the public comment period on the withdrawal proposal until January 15, 2016 to allow the Secretary of the Interior to collect additional information relevant to the decision on whether to withdraw these areas from the location of new mining claims for up to 20 years. An interactive map of the areas included in the proposed withdrawal is available at www.blm.gov/sagegrouse.
The BLM has proposed over 10 million acres of land to be withdrawn in the west. We encourage AEMA members to attend a local meeting (see schedule below) or file comments (below). Some important points to emphasize:
- USFWS “not warranted” decision states that mining’s impact is minimal and local to the project areas. Less than 0.1% of the 173 million acre habitat is impacted by all mining. This is minuscule compared to the overwhelming impact of unregulated wildfire.
- The BLM 3809 regs are adequate regulatory mechanisms to address Greater Sage-grouse habitat, making these withdrawals unnecessary.
- Sage-grouse Focal Area (SFAs) boundaries need to be adjusted to reflect existing projects and mining claims “on the ground.”
- The withdrawals do not take into account the vast mineral potential of these lands. The yet-to-be-discovered minerals are the future of economic growth and activity in these rural areas.
- “Valid Existing Rights” offer no real and practical protection for exploration and development projects. The VER concept and the lack of supporting mechanisms from federal agencies will have a chilling affect on exploration activity and investment capital.
Meetings are scheduled for:
Lakeview, OR; 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Lakeview BLM District Office
1301 South G Street
Lakeview, Oregon 97630
Salt Lake City, UT; 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Salt Lake City BLM Office
2370 South Decker Lake Drive
West Valley City, Utah 84119
Boise, ID; 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Best Western Vista Inn & Conference Center
2645 Airport Way
Boise, Idaho 83709
Rock Springs; 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Rock Springs BLM Field Office
280 Highway 191 North
Rock Springs, Wyoming 82901
Reno; 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
1100 Nugget Avenue
Sparks, Nevada 89431
Idaho Falls; 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Shiloh Suites Conference Hotel
780 Lindsay Blvd.
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83402
Elko; 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Elko Conference Center
724 Moren Way
Elko, Nevada 89801
Malta; 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Great Northern Hotel
2 South 1st Street East
Malta, Montana 59538
As part of the withdrawal process the lands covered by the proposal have been temporarily segregated for a period of up to two years. During that period, the agencies will undertake environmental and other analyses to determine if the lands should be formally withdrawn to protect sage-grouse habitat from adverse effects of future locatable exploration and mining.
Written comments must be received by January 15. 2016. Comments should be addressed to the BLM Director, 1849 C Street NW (WO-200), Washington, DC 20240 or electronically to email@example.com.
Source: American Exploration & Mining Association | MiningAmerica.com