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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
Central California District
 
Release Date: 12/04/09
Contacts: David Christy , (916) 941-3146  
  Sky Murphy , (831) 630-5039  
News Release No. CA-CC-10-09

BLM Seeks Public Comments on Clear Creek Draft Plan


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Hollister Field Office is inviting the public to comment on the draft resource management plan (RMP) and environmental impact statement (EIS) on the Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA), covering public lands in southern San Benito and western Fresno counties.

The draft RMP/EIS was developed through a public planning process and analyzes seven alternatives. The primary issues addressed are public health risk from asbestos exposure, recreation, protection of sensitive resources, energy and mineral development, land tenure adjustments, and other resource issues.

“The draft EIS contains a wide range of alternatives,” said Rick Cooper, Hollister Field Office manager. “The draft RMP provides the public an opportunity to comment on different ways of managing the area while protecting human health and safety.”  He explained the CCMA encompasses 75,000 acres, but BLM's plan affects only the 63,000 acres of public lands within the boundary, including the 30,000-acre Serpentine Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), containing naturally-occurring asbestos.

BLM issued an order to close public lands in the Serpentine ACEC on May 1, 2008 to protect the public, property, and resources from asbestos exposure. The temporary closure was in response to the results of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) human health risk assessment, which determined the asbestos exposures for many recreational activities at CCMA exceeded the acceptable risk range for carcinogens. The temporary closure will remain in effect until a new management plan is approved.

The BLM's preferred alternative would allow limited vehicle touring and pedestrian use in the Serpentine ACEC and emphasizes non-motorized recreation opportunities outside the ACEC.   Under that alternative, no off-highway vehicle recreation would be allowed in the ACEC, and public health and safety risks would be mitigated by restricting access and use during extreme weather conditions.

A 90-day public comment period began today, Cooper said, and comments must be postmarked or received by BLM no later than March 5, 2010.   Written public comments may be submitted at public meetings or by mail to BLM,  Attn: CCMA RMP/EIS, 20 Hamilton Court, Hollister, CA 95023.  Comments can also be provided via email: cahormp@ca.blm.gov, or fax: (831) 630-5055.

Cooper said public meetings are planned during January or February and will be announced later through the news media, mail, and BLM's website at least 15 days prior to the first meeting.

The draft RMP/EIS is available on-line for public review at the Hollister Field Office webpage: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/hollister/clear_creek_management_area/CCMA_RMP.html. Compact disks of the document are available by request from the Hollister Field Office at the address above. For additional information contact the Hollister Field Office at 831-630-5000.




--BLM--

Central California District   2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825   

Last updated: 12-04-2009