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BLM holds open house

SHERIDAN — The Buffalo Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management held an open house Monday at the Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library to discuss revisions to its Resource Management Plan. The plan was last revised in 1985, and current revisions have been underway since 2008.

“It’s been a long time, and there’s new technologies out there, and new data and various resources. We’re asked to update it, to keep the plan live and continuously update it and do our inventories. We just thought it was time to do that,” Resource Management Plan Project Manager Thomas Bills said.

Key areas with new research and technologies include sage grouse and oil and gas development, Bills said.

The revised plan will include updated information and guidelines on those areas, particularly in regards to fracking and horizontal drilling, as well as all the other management aspects of the BLM such as recreation, wildlife, soil and water.

“The Resource Management Plan is the Bible for the Bureau of Land Management,” Bills said. “It tells us how we are to manage the BLM public areas as far as what areas are open for recreation, what areas are open for oil and gas development, how are we going to protect the soil, the water, the air, the fish, the wildlife, the cultural sites, that sort of thing.”

The revision process began in 2008 with public input, which was incorporated into the current draft plan. The BLM is currently in another 90-day public comment period that will end Sept. 26. Comments received during that time will be added to the final draft which is scheduled to be complete in spring 2014. At that time, there will be a 30-day protest period for anyone who has problems with the plan before it is finalized in summer 2014.

Bills welcomed public comment, asking that comments be specific, constructive and supported with documentation rather than vague and forceful.

To review and comment on the BLM’s Draft Resource Management Plan, visit www.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/lup/lup_register.do, email BRMP_Rev_WYMail@blm.gov or call (307) 684-1133.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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