On Dec. 18, 2015, NMA submitted extensive comments opposing the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) proposal to withdraw approximately 10 million acres of greater sage grouse habitat from new mining operations.
NMA’s comments highlighted the lack of necessity for the proposed withdrawal in order to conserve the species and its habitat and the importance of high mineral potential federal lands which would be put off limits by the withdrawal. NMA also stressed the legal shortcomings of the proposal, including violations of the Federal Lands Management Policy Act (FLPMA) and the general mining laws, as well as the significant practical implications of the proposed withdraw.
Also in mid-December, the President signed the omnibus spending package, which included a policy rider that would ban the Department of the Interior from writing or issuing a proposed rule for greater sage grouse or the distinct population segment of the Columbia basin greater sage-grouse.
The bill’s report language also provides $63,250,000 for sage-grouse conservation and acknowledges concerns about the BLM and U.S. Forest Service’s land use plan amendments and directs them to work closely with each of the 11 states and the affected communities to address the issues unique to each state and seek to collaboratively resolve all issues.
After the submission of the comments and the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, NMA continued its media outreach resulting in an op-ed placement in the Washington Examiner and numerous news and radio interviews reaching more than 200,000 listeners in impacted western states, as well as policymakers in Washington, D.C.
NMA’s grassroots activities generated more than 1000 comment letters in opposition to the proposed withdrawal.
See Idaho Mining Association’s Comments: IMA Submits Comments to the BLM Pointing out the Economic Benefit the Mining Industry Has in Idaho