Cabezon Creek WSA, NM
BLM
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Range Recreation Sage Grouse Strutting, Wyoming Energy Vegetation
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Examples of Risks that are Unique or Unknown & Risks that are Not

Last Page Update: July 29, 2010
 
Significance does not arise from uncertainty about future actions by others; it arises from a high degree of uncertainty about the effects of the proposed action.
 
Significance does not arise from the presence of risk; it arises from a high degree of unique or unknown risks. If the risks are known and have been incurred for similar actions in the past, significance is not implicated.
 
 
 
Example 1 - Effects are highly uncertain or involve unique or unknown risks
 
For example, an EA was prepared for a proposed action of an increase in the number of large cruise ships and other tour boats that would be allowed in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. The EA concluded that "[l]ittle is known about the effects of the [cruise ship] disturbance" on steller sea lions; "[t]he effect of increased levels of disturbance" on Glacier Bay's cetacean populations is "unknown"; and "the degree of increase [in oil spills as a result of increased traffic] is unknown." It also stated that the effect of noise and air pollution on murrelets, bald eagles, and waterfowls remains "unknown" because unstudied. These conclusions in the EA demonstrate that “possible effects on the human environment are highly uncertain or involve unique or unknown risks.” 40 CFR 1508.27(b)(5).
 
See National Parks & Conservation Association v. Babbitt (9th Cir. 2001) 241 F 3d. 722.
 
Example 2 - Effects are certain and do not involve unique or unknown risks
 
The degree to which the possible effects on the human environment are highly uncertain or involve unique or unknown risks. There are no predicted effects on the human environment that are considered to be highly uncertain or involve unique or unknown risks. The proposed gypsum mining project is not unique or unusual. As disclosed in the A1Gypsum Mine EA, the BLM has experience implementing similar gypsum mining actions in similar areas, including the immediate vicinity of the selected project area and understands the environmental consequences of the approved mining plan. The environmental effects to the human environment are fully analyzed in the EA with a high degree of certainty. 
 
Example 3 - Effects are certain and do not involve unique or unknown risks
 
The degree to which the effects on the quality of the human environment are likely to be highly controversial.
Public input was requested during review of the EA and prior to the issuance of the proposed decision. All comments received were addressed and incorporated as pertinent. Although many of the comments expressed opposition to livestock grazing on public lands, livestock have grazed on the public lands for over 100 years and the effects of livestock grazing management practices are well known and documented in the EA. There is no controversy about the nature or intensity of environmental impacts from livestock grazing.
 
The degree to which the possible effects on the human environment are highly uncertain or involve unique or unknown risks.
As stated above, livestock have grazed on the public lands for over 100 years and the effects of livestock grazing management practices are well known and documented in the EA. There are no known effects of the Proposed Action identified in the EA that are considered uncertain or involve unique or unknown risks. The effects analysis demonstrates the effects are not uncertain, and do not involve unique or unknown risk (EA Chapters 4.0 & 5.0).