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BLM extends public comment period

Bureau of Land Management said that the current public comment period for the Las Vegas and Pahrump field offices draft Resource Management Plan and draft Environmental Impact Statement has been extended from Jan. 7 to Feb. 6.

Bureau Public Affairs Specialist Kirsten Cannon said the BLM received multiple requests to extend the comment period from elected officials, stakeholder groups and governmental units participating as cooperators.

In an email, Cannon said that the extension was related, in part, to large size of the document. It was also requested, Cannon said, that the comment period continue through the holiday season to parallel BLM’s comment period on the draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. Taken into consideration, Cannon said in her email, was the complexity and importance of the document as well as “BLM’s desire to ensure appropriate public review and comment.”

The extension announcement follows the cancellation of a public comment session scheduled in Pahrump on Nov. 13. It was previously reported that the reason for the last-minute cancellation was to find a larger venue to accommodate the anticipated attendees. That meeting was to be the last of five public comment sessions scheduled on the Environmental Impact Statement.

Bureau Deputy Chief of Communications Ronald Evenson confirmed via email on Dec. 23 that, “No decisions have been made at this time regarding rescheduling. We are continuing to explore ways to engage the Pahrump community.”

The extension of the comment period is one of those ways in which Pahrump residents, as well as others, can have a their say on proposed alternatives to management of public lands.

Four alternatives are suggested in the EIS with a goal of resolving conflicts among uses.

One alternative is to take no action. That will continue the current management adopted in the 1998 Las Vegas Resource Management Plan. That alternative, however, could be modified by current laws, regulations and policies.

The second alternative would take action to protect resources, including wildlife habitat, plants, and water quality, while preserving wilderness and paleontological sites. This alternative would allow commodity use consistent with current laws. Access to and development of resources within the planning area could occur with intensive management and mitigation of surface-disturbing activities.

Alternative three provides opportunities to use and develop resources within the planning area while ensuring resource protection. This is BLM’s preferred alternative.

Similar to the third alternative, alternative four will allow use and development of resources and would provide for motorized access and commodity production with minimal restrictions. This alternative relies on existing laws, regulations and policies, rather than special management or special designations, to protect sensitive resources.

It was previously reported by the Pahrump Valley Times that county officials object to the preferred alternative because it proposes the addition of 20 additional “Areas of Critical Environmental Concern.” The preferred alternative designates three fewer areas of critical concern than alternative two. Requests for comments from Nye County Commission members were not received by press time.

In offering written comments on the proposed draft plans, BLM officials said that commentors should suggest specific changes to the document and provide the page number and section of the document in the comment. If identifying an error in the proposal, officials ask that the error or issue is located and what the perceived error is. Officials are also asking for constructive solutions with documentation or resources to support recommendations.

The information obtained from the public comment session will aid in the completion of the final EIS and RMP. The final reports will be used to direct management of the 3.1 million acres of public land in southern Nevada.

Written comments related to the Las Vegas and Pahrump Field Offices Draft RMP/EIS may be submitted by mail: BLM Southern Nevada District Office, Las Vegas/Pahrump Field Offices Draft RMP/Draft EIS, 4701 N. Torrey Pines Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89130; email at sndo_rmp_revision@blm.gov; fax at 702.515-5023 or via the Internet at:Website: http://tinyurl.com/qzvaht7.

CDs of the draft RMP/EIS are available at the Burea’s district office or online at the address listed above.

Printed copies are available at Pahrump Community Library, Beatty Library and Amargosa Valley Library in Nye County, and various locations in Clark County.

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