BLM and BIA to host five virtual public meetings for the Farmington Mancos-Gallup Resource Management Plan Amendment and Environmental Impact Statement
Farmington, N.M. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) invite the public to participate in a virtual meeting regarding the recently published Farmington Mancos-Gallup Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment and associated Environmental Impact Statement (RMPA/EIS). The virtual meeting will provide the public with the opportunity to learn more about the Draft RMPA/EIS, discuss it with specialists, ask questions, and submit comments on the document.
"We are excited to be able to use technology to meet the requirements of federal law that we engage and involve the American public in our decision-making process, especially as to such an important Resource Management Plan," said Deputy Director for Policy and Programs William Perry Pendley. "Hosting these virtual meetings will reduce our carbon footprint, decrease the cost to the federal government and to private citizens who must travel to far away locations, and increase by orders of magnitude those able to participate in the meeting itself."
“During this time, it is imperative that we continue work to find alternative strategies to support the commitment to engage all stakeholders on the Draft Resource Management Plan, which will help optimize the conservation and stewardship of trust resources on Indian trust lands,” said BIA Deputy Director for Field Operations Jim James. “I encourage tribes and the public to participate in this virtual meeting to provide input to guide the development of energy resources and to manage, develop and protect important cultural sites, surface acres of trust lands, and subsurface trust mineral estates.”
The Draft RMPA/EIS, which was released for a 90-day public comment period on February 28, is analyzing resource management issues for lands in San Juan, Rio Arriba, McKinley, and Sandoval counties, including lands surrounding the Chaco Culture National Historical Park. The Draft RMPA/EIS provides a unified document that resource managers can use for land use management purposes. This planning effort will update management decisions such as oil and gas development, lands and realty, lands with wilderness characteristics, and vegetation. The document will facilitate the BLM and BIA environmental analysis and permitting of Indian and Tribal mineral development. It encompasses approximately 4,189,460 acres of land, including roughly 675,400 acres of Navajo Trust surface, 1,316,200 acres of BLM-managed land, and 210,100 acres of individual Indian allotments across 17 Navajo Nation Chapters.
The BLM and BIA are currently considering several separate alternatives to resolve land use issues and resource management challenges. The decisions made will determine how to manage the public, Navajo Tribal Trust land, and Navajo Indian allotments and resources within the planning area for the next 10 to 15 years. For these reasons, an RMPA/EIS is required at this time. The BIA does not have an existing RMP. The development of this RMPA/EIS will support the BIA’s future land management decisions.
The virtual public meetings will be held using Zoom video conferencing technology. Prior to the meeting, the public can log onto the project website (https://go.usa.gov/xvy3r) to view the Powerpoint presentation. There will also be a link on this website for the public to review the document.
The virtual public meetings will take place on the following dates:
- Thursday, May 14, 2-4 p.m.
- Friday, May 15, 9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m.
- Saturday, May 16, 9-11 a.m.
- Monday, May 18, 9-11 a.m.
To register for the virtual meetings, go to: https://www.blm.gov/programs/planning-and-nepa/plans-in-development/new-mexico/farmington-rmp-mancos-gallup-amendment. Once you have registered for one of the virtual meetings, you will receive an email containing instructions on how to join the meeting. These instructions will also include an option to call into the meeting using a traditional phone line. The meetings will also be livestreamed on Facebook.
During the meeting, the public can expect to see an overview of the Farmington Mancos-Gallup RMPA/EIS project and planning area, the EIS process, how to review the document, and how to provide comments. The BLM and BIA will be available to assist the public with any additional questions they have regarding the EIS process and how to have involvement in this process.
The Draft RMPA/EIS and supporting information are available online at: https://go.usa.gov/xdrjD. Comments can be submitted via the web address, or by mail to:
· BLM Farmington Field Office, Attn.: Sarah Scott, Project Manager, 6251 College Blvd, Suite A, Farmington, NM 87402
· BIA Navajo Regional Office, Attn.: Robert Begay, Project Manager, P.O. Box 1060, Gallup, NM 87301
For more information on the planning process, please contact Sarah Scott, Project Manager, Farmington Field Office at 505-564-7689.
As the oldest bureau in the U.S. Department of the Interior, established in 1824, the BIA is within the Office of the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs, along with the Bureau of Indian Education. The BIA provides services (directly or through contracts, grants, or compacts) to approximately 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. With just under 5,000 employees, the BIA carries out its core mission for 573 federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Natives in the U.S. through four offices: the Office of Indian Services, which operates BIA's general assistance, disaster relief, Indian child welfare, tribal government, Indian Self-Determination, and reservation roads programs; the Office of Justice Services: operates or funds law enforcement, tribal courts, and detention facilities on Federal Indian lands; the Office of Trust Services: works directly with tribes and individual American Indians and Alaska Natives in the management of their trust lands, assets, and resources; and Office of Field Operations: oversees 12 regional offices and 83 agencies which carry out the BIA mission at the tribal level.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in the 11 Western states and Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In fiscal year 2018, the diverse activities authorized on BLM-managed lands generated $105 billion in economic output across the country. This economic activity supported 471,000 jobs and contributed substantial revenue to the U.S. Treasury and state governments, mostly through royalties on minerals.