News Release

For Release: September 23, 2008                    
Contacts:   Stephen Razo (951) 697-5217; e-mail srazo@ca.blm.gov
CA-CDD-08-68

Public Meetings Set in Twentynine Palms and Victorville for Marine Corps Withdrawal

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Marine Corps will host public meetings in Twentynine Palms and in Victorville next month to help the public understand the legislative withdrawal process for consideration of the proposal to expand the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base in San Bernardino County.

The first public meeting is scheduled for October 23, 2008 at Hay’s Gym, Twentynine Palms Junior High School, 5798 Utah Trail, Twentynine Palms, Calif. from 4 to 9 p.m. The second meeting is the following day, October 24, at Hilton Garden Inn, 12603 Mariposa Road, Victorville, Calif.  Two meeting times are scheduled at the Victorville location, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  Both meetings are scheduled to provide the public the broadest opportunities to attend, according to Roxie Trost, BLM Barstow Field Office manager. 

A notice published September 15 segregated the public lands involved for two years, making them unavailable for settlement, sale, and location of claims under the mining laws.  However, the lands remain open to public access and recreation use.  A 90-day comment period closes December 15, 2008.

The notice, available online at www.blm.gov/ca also explains the withdrawal process.  After the comment period, the Marine Corps will be preparing a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for further public review to identify a range of alternatives for meeting the Corps' training requirements and analyzing the environmental impacts. 

"We realize members of the public have concerns and questions about the proposed withdrawal and what the segregation means," said Trost.  "These meetings will provide a first-hand opportunity to have the proposal and subsequent opportunities for full public involvement explained," she said.

The Department of the Navy, as required by the 1958 Engle Act, filed an application requesting the Secretary of the Interior to process a proposed withdrawal of public lands for military training and exercises involving the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms.  The proposal seeks to withdraw approximately 366,000 acres of federal public land and, if eventually acquired, approximately 72,000 acres of non-federally owned property within the proposed withdrawal area.  

-BLM-