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Bureau of Land Management
For Release: Friday, January 2, 2004

Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)
Contact:
Tom Gorey
(202) 452-5137
Molly Brady
(202) 452-7714
 

BLM Announces Availability of Draft Environmental Impact Statement
On Proposed Grazing Rule; Sets Public Meetings on Impact Statement

The Bureau of Land Management today announced the availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement prepared in connection with a proposed grazing rule that the BLM published last month. The Bureau also announced a series of public meetings that it will hold in the West and in Washington, D.C., on the impact statement. The Western meetings are scheduled for late January and early February in Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Boise, Billings, and Cheyenne.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which the BLM posted today on its national Web site, analyzes the potential environmental impacts of the Bureau’s proposed grazing rule. The rulemaking proposal, published in the Federal Register on December 8, is aimed at improving grazing management and helping public lands ranching continue in the rural West. The proposed rule recognizes the economic and social benefits of public lands ranching, as well as its preservation of open space in the rapidly growing West.

The DEIS is a national-level analysis that documents the ecological, cultural, social, and economic effects of the proposed grazing rule, if implemented in its current form. The DEIS also examines the impact of two other management options -- a “No Action Alternative” and a “Modified Action Alternative.” The “No Action Alternative” analyzes the effects of the BLM continuing to administer public lands grazing under current regulations. The “Modified Action Alternative” looks at the effects of regulatory changes that would be similar, but not identical, to the proposed rule.  (The text of the proposed rule can be accessed at http://www.blm.gov/nhp/news/regulatory/index.htm#4100p-2003.)

The notice of availability of the DEIS appears in today’s Federal Register, opening up a 60-day public comment period. The comment period will end on March 2, which is also the closing date for public comments on the proposed grazing rule.

The schedule for the public meetings on the DEIS is as follows:

January 27 in Salt Lake City, Utah, 6 p.m.-10 p.m. (Marriott Hotel, 75 South West Temple)
January 28 in Phoenix, Arizona, 6 p.m.-10 p.m. (Wyndham Phoenix Hotel, 50 East Adams Street)
January 31 in Boise, Idaho, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. (Doubletree Riverside Hotel, 2900 Chinden Boulevard)
February 2 in Billings, Montana, 6 p.m.-10 p.m. (Holiday Inn Grand Montana, 5500 Midland Road)
February 3 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, 6 p.m.-10 p.m. (Little America, 2800 West Lincolnway)
February 5 in Washington, D.C., 1 p.m.-5 p.m. (Courtyard by Marriott-Embassy Row, 1600 Rhode Island Avenue)

The BLM, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages more land — 261 million surface acres — than any other Federal agency. Most of this public land is located in 12 Western States, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1.9 billion and a workforce of some 10,000 full-time, permanent employees, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on the public lands.