Federal lands plan for Sheridan, Johnson and Campbell counties up for public review

— June 28, 2013

(Press release) The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Buffalo Field Office (BFO) announces the release of a draft resource management plan (RMP) and supporting environmental impact statement (EIS) for a 90 day public review. The Draft RMP/EIS were prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976.

To ensure that comments will be considered, the BLM must receive written comments on the Draft RMP/EIS within 90 days following the date the Environmental Protection Agency publishes its Notice of Availability (NOA) of the Draft RMP/EIS in the Federal Register, scheduled for June 28.

Public meetings will be held in the afternoon at the following locations:  Buffalo Aug. 5, Gillette Aug. 6, Sheridan Aug. 19, and Kaycee Aug. 20. Times will be announced at a later date. The BLM will announce meetings or hearings and any other public participation activities at least 15 days in advance through public notices, media releases, and the RMP revision web site:
www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/programs/Planning/rmps/buffalo.html. The Draft RMP/EIS is also available on the RMP revision website.

You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

  • Mail: Thomas Bills, Buffalo RMP, BLM Buffalo Field Office, 1425 Fort Street, Buffalo, WY 82834; or
  • By personal delivery to the Buffalo Field Office or at a BLM-hosted public meeting.

The planning area for the project includes Campbell, Johnson, and Sheridan counties. The BLM will only make decisions on lands that fall under the BLM’s jurisdiction. BLM-administered surface totals approximately 782 thousand acres, and federal mineral estate totals 4.8 million acres.

The revised RMP will replace the 1985 Buffalo RMP. The Draft RMP/EIS includes a series of management actions, within four management alternatives, designed to address management challenges and issues raised during scoping. These include, but are not limited to, energy development (coal, oil and gas, renewable energy, and uranium), wildlife habitat management including that of the Greater Sage-Grouse, livestock grazing, air quality, special management areas including areas of critical environmental concern (ACEC), and travel management.

In accordance with 43 CFR 1610.7–2(b), there is a concurrent public comment period on proposed ACECs. There are no ACECs in the existing BFO land use plan (Alternative A) or proposed for designation in Alternative C. Alternative B proposes 8 ACECs while Alternative D proposes 3 ACECs.

BLM’s preferred alternative is alternative D. While a preferred alternative has been identified, selection of the final plan has not been made. The final decision will be made only after consideration of the comments received on the Draft RMP and EIS.

For more information on the BFO RMP revision contact Thomas Bills at (307) 684-1133.

Dustin Bleizeffer is a Report for America Corps member covering energy and climate at WyoFile. He has worked as a coal miner, an oilfield mechanic, and for 25 years as a statewide reporter and editor primarily...

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