National monument planning on a fast track

The BLM will hold four scoping meetings the week of March 26  to identify key issues and planning criteria for two environmental impact statements (EIS) for the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, “but monument supporters say the BLM should holster its planning process until the courts resolve lawsuits seeking the monuments’ restoration…  Culver and other critics fear Interior is rushing to get lands holding fossil-fuel deposits back under lease to private industry quickly, before the courts have a chance to revoke Trump’s action and put the minerals off limits again…  Those deposits were reopened to mineral entry beginning Feb. 2, but BLM officials say they cannot be leased for development until a new management plan is in place for the 862,000 acres removed from the monument.”

So there is a planning process for lands removed from the GSE monument that were discussed here.  A new plan might authorize the chaining project that would be prohibited by the current plan, but it seems premature for the BLM to be developing that project assuming the plan would be changed to allow it.

1 thought on “National monument planning on a fast track”

  1. The idea that initiating planning efforts that require an EIS is “rushing” is pretty funny. If the BLM actually finished, and started trying to lease on those areas… there would first be a lawsuit on the new plans (with maybe an IBLA appeal too, I don’t know the details of BLM appeals). Then after the lawsuit on the plan, if the BLM were to try to lease, then there could be a lawsuit on that… which takes us well beyond the next election. Plus the issue of “not settled monument” could be raised and a judge could issue a TRO on the leases.
    My point is that the concept of “rushing” and the reality of BLM planning and court cases are so incompatible it makes me chuckle. Yesterday I went back to my old office for the EADM meeting and the litigation on the Colorado Roadless Rule finalized 2012, with the coal lease modification still in litigation in 2018. New FS people, and BLM people but the same project.


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