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Last Updated:
12/18/2013 10:47:20 MST
What is the status of "Lot 51?"

The term "Lot 51" is a locally known parcel of approximately 25 acres, lying partially across the American Flat Road and the proposed Lucerne Haul Road.  On February 13, 2013 the BLM allowed to proceed a Class I Color of Title claim by Comstock Mining.  The acceptance letter and map of Lot 51 are found under the Documents section.  Until such time as a patent for Lot 51 is issued to Comstock Mining, the parcel is managed by the BLM.

Allowing the Class I Color of Title claim to proceed does not affect the on-going right-of-way amendment and environmental assessment.

What is the scope of this project?

On July 6, 2012 the BLM issued a right-of-way for Comstock Mining's use of the public land segments along the American Flat Road.  Along with use of State Highway 342, Comstock Mining uses street legal semi-trucks to transport material from their mining operation in the Billy the Kid and Lucerne pit areas to their heap-leach processing facility.  All mining operations and the heap-leach facility are located on privately-owned lands.

On August 29, 2012 Comstock Mining submitted to the BLM a plan of development and right-of-way application to amend their existing right-of-way to include the "Lucerne haul road."  Portions of the Lucerne haul road cross public lands.  In addition, Comstock Mining is requesting that the "Lucerne haul road" be used exclusively for purposes of hauling materials from the pit areas to the heap-leach processing facility.

The request before the BLM is to amend the existing right-of-way to include the "Lucerne haul road."  Use of the "Lucerne haul road" by Comstock Mining could reduce the use of State Highway 342 as a haul road.

What is outside the scope of this project?

Comstock Mining has not initiated the development of a plan of operations for mining on federal lands.  All on-going mining activities are located on privately-owned lands, not subject to BLM decision-making.  Under the BLM's 3809 regulations, a plan of operations would be required prior to initiating review under the National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation Act.

Why is the BLM not preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) for this project?

The proposal before the BLM is to amend an existing right-of-way to include the "Lucerne haul road."  The "Lucerne haul road" was largely constructed prior to 2003 and was not subject to compliance under the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act at that time.  Although a portion of the road would be improved/modified, most of the adverse effects from its construction have already occurred.  The BLM has determined that an environmental assessment is the appropriate level of compliance necessary for this right-of-way amendment.

What are my opportunities for input on this project?

The public scoping period was from January 17 to February 19, 2013.  The BLM hosted two workshops for the public, on January 22, 2013 thirty people attended the workshop at the BLM's Carson City District Office, and on January 29, 2013 forty-three people attended the workshop at the Piper's Opera House in Virginia City.

What are the next steps?

On March 28, 2013 the BLM issued a Scoping Report based on comments and issues identified during the two workshops held for public scoping.

A draft environmental assessment will be made available for 30-day comment and two workshops will be held.  This will likely occur during the spring of 2014.