POCATELLO, ID: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Pocatello Field Office and United States Forest Service (USFS) Caribou-Targhee National Forest, in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, have completed a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Panels F and G Lease and Mine Plan Modification Project at the Smoky Canyon Mine submitted by the J.R. Simplot Company.
The proposed modifications include: construction of an ore conveyor system between Panel F (lease IDI-27512) and the existing mill; enlargement of the existing Panel G lease (IDI-01441) for expansion of the east overburden disposal area; utilization of a geosynthetic clay laminate liner on Panel G; and enlargement of the south overburden disposal area on Panel G by 20 acres for the temporary storage of chert.
There are approximately 170 acres of new disturbance associated with the proposed modifications. The Federal phosphate leases held by J.R. Simplot Company grant them exclusive rights to develop the phosphate minerals in the leases under the BLM-approved mine plan(s). Modifications to existing leases and mine plans must be approved by the BLM. Off-lease disturbance on National Forest System lands requires special use authorization by the USFS.
The Draft EIS is available for public review and comment as of May 30, 2014. Electronic copies of the Draft EIS are available via BLM and USFS websites at https://www.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/nepa/nepa_register.do and http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/ctnf/landmanagement/projects. CD-ROMs and limited quantities of print copies are available at the BLM Pocatello Field Office, 4350 Cliffs Drive, Pocatello, ID.
Comments on the Draft EIS will be accepted until the close of business on July 15, 2014. Please send written comments by mail or email to the following addresses respectively: Panels F and G Lease and Mine Plan Modification Project EIS, C/O JBR Environmental, 8160 South Highland Drive, Sandy, UT 84093; or BLM_ID_scm_panelsfg@blm.gov. Please reference “Panels F and G Lease and Mine Plan Modification EIS” on all correspondence.
Three informational meetings are scheduled for interested public at 5–7 p.m. at the following locations:
· FS Sheld BWCivic Center—150 S. Washington St., Afton, WY; June 16, 2014
· Tribal Business Center—Pima Drive, Fort Hall, ID; June 17, 2014
· BLM Pocatello Field Office—4350 Cliffs Drive, Pocatello, ID; June 18, 2014
Further information is available from Diane Wheeler, Project Manager, BLM Pocatello Field Office, 4350 Cliffs Drive, Pocatello, ID 83204, phone (208) 557-5839.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.