U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
For Release: September 15, 2008
Public Meetings Planned for Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Withdrawal Application
The Bureau of Land Management and the Marine Corps will host public meetings on October 23 and 24 to present the proposal for possible expansion of the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base and to discuss the legislative withdrawal process of the public lands in San Bernardino County. The locations, times, and formats for the meetings will be announced in the near future.
A Federal Register notice published today segregates the public lands identified by the Marines for possible expansion for two years. Under the segregation, the lands are no longer available for settlement, sale, and location of claims under the mining laws. However, the lands remain open to public access and recreation use.
The notice, available online at http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/fed_reg_archives.html also explains the withdrawal process, which requires full environmental and public review and congressional approval as required by the 1958 Engle Act. The publication of the Federal Register notice begins a 90-day comment period regarding the proposed withdrawal.
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 Roxie Trost, BLM’s Barstow Field Office manager. "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, in accordance with the 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.