From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 15 - July 10, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

RMP nets 17,362 responses

by Cat Urbigkit

As the Bureau of Land Management continues its work on revising the Pinedale Resource Area's Resource Management Plan, it also had the task of evaluating and considering what the public has to say about the issue.

According to the BLM's scooping report, during the three scoping meetings, 142 people registered their attendance, with some people attending more than one meeting.

The request netted 17,362 responses to the BLM. The majority of these responses (16,524) were attributed to one of three form letters. All of the three form letters had mining, and oil and gas development as their main issue, along with addressing concern for wildlife, according to the BLM report.

There were approximately 55,769 comments received through the various methods, including 864 mail/fax letters, 68 comments from the BLM's RMP website, six from scooping meetings and 54,831 e-mails. These are classified as specific comments on a wide variety of issues. The categories the comments fell into had the majority concerned with mining/oil and gas development (31 percent), wildlife and fisheries (30 percent), general comments (30 percent) and range management/livestock grazing (9 percent). Other categories each had less than one percent.

Comments received in oil and gas development category "favor preservation over continued development. However, those representing the oil and gas industry favor continued development and feel that new technologies and methods of production can ensure that the environment is protected while development is taking place. Respondents indicated a balanced approach to management is most desirable."

For livestock grazing, respondents "indicated that multiple use must be maintained on public lands, including the use of public land for livestock grazing. Some suggest that a voluntary monitoring program be instituted among livestock grazers."

Comments received in the category of recreation and off-highway vehicle use focused on keeping roads and trails open to recreational OHV users, while protecting historic trails.

"Respondents in this area believe that oil and gas development can coexist with recreational uses, especially with respect to OHV use," the report stated. "Multiple use management is cited as being in favor of recreational uses of public lands."

Comments received in the wildlife category ranged from protection of sage grouse and migration corridors to preventing the reintroduction of wolves, according to the report.

"Other wildlife species mentioned for continued protection include pronghorn antelope, mountain plover, burrowing owls, elk, bighorn sheep and ferruginous hawks. Some comments urge a no net loss of wildlife in the area. The report noted that the BLM's mining/oil and gas development and wildlife were the two categories that received the most comments for a specific topic (60 percent).

General comments ranged from reminding the BLM of the need to retain multiple use management guidelines to not letting "outside environmentalists influence the process." To see the report go

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