U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
Office of the Secretary of the Interior
|Release Date: 02/17/11|
Interior Invites Public Input on Future Hardrock Mineral Development in Northern Arizona near the Grand Canyon
WASHINGTON -- The Department of the Interior has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and is seeking public comment on a proposal to withdraw lands in the Grand Canyon watershed that would affect uranium and other hardrock mineral development in that area.
The public is invited to provide input on four alternatives in the Draft EIS, including a no-action (no withdrawal) alternative, to help determine whether Federal lands should be withdrawn from location and entry under the 1872 Mining Law for 20 years, subject to valid existing rights.
“The current two-year segregation from new mining claims in the Arizona Strip near the Grand Canyon is allowing us to gather the best science available, engage the public, and make an informed decision about whether lands in the watershed should be withdrawn from new mining claims,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “With the input of local communities, tribes, stakeholders, and scientists, the Bureau of Land Management has developed four alternatives on which we encourage people to provide their feedback and views. This process will help make a decision that recognizes the need for wise development of our energy resources, the importance of healthy lands and waters, and the voices of local communities, tribes, states, and stakeholders.”
The Northern Arizona Proposed Withdrawal Draft EIS, which will be available for public review and comment on February 18, 2011, was prepared by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), acting as lead agency in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and other state and local agencies and in consultation with seven American Indian tribes.
Public input on the Draft EIS will be used to inform a final decision made by the Secretary of the Interior on the proposed withdrawal. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, a notice published by the Environmental Protection Agency in the Federal Register initiates a 45-day public comment period.
The Draft EIS discusses the potential impacts that each of four alternatives would have on the human environment and natural and cultural resources. The Draft EIS does not identify a preferred alternative.
In July 2009, Secretary Salazar proposed the withdrawal of nearly one million acres of federal lands in the Arizona Strip (BLM) and Kaibab National Forest (USFS) from location and entry under the Mining Law of 1872 for up to 20 years, subject to valid existing rights. Notice of the Secretary’s proposal was published in the Federal Register on July 21, 2009, which resulted in the segregation of those lands from location and entry under the Mining Law, subject to valid existing rights, for up to two years.
A decision to withdraw the subject lands from location and entry under the Mining Law, subject to valid existing rights, would prohibit the filing of new mining claims in an area that has previously been open to location. If the land is withdrawn, previously-approved mining operations could continue under existing surface use authorizations and new operations on mining claims that pre-date the proposed withdrawal on July 21, 2009, could be developed only after a determination that the mining claims were valid as of that date.
Public meetings are being scheduled to take place from March 7 to 10, 2011, in Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Fredonia, Arizona, and in Salt Lake City, Utah. Comments must be in writing and either mailed to Bureau of Land Management, Arizona Strip District, 345 East Riverside Drive, St. George, UT 84790, or sent as an email to NAZproposedwithdrawal@azblm.org.
Information can be found at http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/mining/timeout.html or by calling (435) 688-3200. Public Meetings will be held in all of the following locations from 6:00pm to 8:30pm:
|Last updated: 02-17-2011|
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