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Butte Field Office
Release Date: 10/04/11
Contacts: Contact David Abrams 406-533-7617    

Final Legislative EIS Published for Public Land Withdrawal in Limestone Hills

Officials from the Bureau of Land Management’s Butte Field Office report the Final Legislative Environmental Impact Statement for the withdrawal of public lands in the Limestone Hills area has been released to the public.

The Department of the Army filed an application on behalf of the Montana Army National Guard and the Department of Defense to withdraw and segregate from mineral entry nearly 20,000 acres of BLM-administered land about three miles west of the Missouri River near Townsend.  The proposed withdrawal is for the National Guard to perform military training exercises and live firing.

The Montana Army National Guard has used the Limestone Hills area since the 1950s under special land-use permits.  In 1984, the BLM issued a 30-year right-of-way to authorize the use.  Over the years, military training has resulted in unexploded ordnance contamination in the Limestone Hills.

In 1993, the BLM advised the Montana Army National Guard its right-of-way for the range would not be renewed upon expiration in 2014, and the appropriate authority for continued military use of the area and transfer of jurisdiction to the Department of the Army would be a withdrawal that could only be authorized by Congress.

This LEIS is a component of the legislative proposal package that BLM will submit to the Department of the Interior and the Office of Management and Budget.  After agency review and concurrence, the DOI will transmit the proposed legislation to Congress.  If Congress enacts legislation to withdraw the area, administration of the land will transfer from the BLM to the Department of the Army, with ultimate land management falling to the Montana Army National Guard by lease from the Corps of Engineers.

Questions or requests for copies of the LEIS should be directed to Ms. Sundi West, MTARNG, Fort Harrison, 1956 MT Majo St, P.O. Box 4789, Helena, MT 59636-4789, via telephone at (406) 324-3088, or via email at

The Legislative EIS is also available online at

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 sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Butte Field Office   106 North Parkmont      Butte, MT 59701  

Last updated: 06-28-2012