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Date:  July 14, 2008
Contact:  John Hartley (701) 227-7700

Notice of Public Scoping Meetings Regarding Future Development 
of Federal Coal in North Dakota

The Bureau of Land Management is conducting three additional meetings to gather input from the public about the future management of federal coal in North Dakota.

The meetings are scheduled for July 29 in Bismarck, N.D., at the Doublewood Inn; July 30 in Beulah, at the Looney Bin Restaurant; and July 31 in Dickinson at the Days Inn, Dakota Lodge.  All meetings will take place from 6-8 p.m. The BLM invites the public to participate in these coal discussions and provide input to help shape how the BLM manages public lands and minerals in North Dakota.

Public scoping meetings were held in August through October of 2007; however, based on information on new areas of interest from the coal mining industry, the North Dakota Field Office has decided to hold additional public meetings as part of its resource management planning effort. These scoping meetings will provide an opportunity for North Dakota residents and other key constituents to comment on BLM’s management of federal coal resources.

The 1988 North Dakota Resource Management Plan with an associated Environmental Impact Statement covered 1,009,648 acres of federal coal within North Dakota. The 1988 plan also determined that a little over half (573,868 acres) of federal coal would be available for leasing. Since then, only about 8,300 acres have been leased or mined. The new resource management plan may considerably affect the amount or number of acres of federal coal available for lease in North Dakota.

An additional coal concern is “split estate,” in which the surface lands are owned by private individuals, but the coal is administered by the BLM. Decisions made by the North Dakota BLM regarding management of federal coal in North Dakota can have a significant impact on private surface owners.

Documents pertinent to this proposal may be examined at the North Dakota Field Office. Comments on issues and planning criteria may be submitted in writing to Bureau of Land Management, RMP Manager, North Dakota Field Office, 99 23rd Ave. West, Dickinson, N.D. 58601; fax-701-227-7789. Comments may also be submitted through our website at: www.blm.gov/mt/st/en/fo/north_dakota_field/rmp.html

Respondents’ comments, including their names and street addresses, will be available for public review at the North Dakota Office during regular business hours 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays, and may be published as part of the EIS. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, be advised that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you may ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.