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Rawlins BLM Release Draft EIS for Resource Management Plan for Comment

The BLM's Rawlins Field Office released the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for its revised Resource Management Plan (RMP) December 17, 2004. The Rawlins RMP outlines a range of proposed management actions and their corresponding impacts for the approximately 3.5 million acres of BLM-administered public land surface and 4.5 million acres of BLM-administered federal mineral estate in Albany, Carbon, Laramie, and portions of Sweetwater Counties in southern Wyoming.

Management actions outlined in the EIS include opportunities for energy and minerals development, additional protections for wildlife, historic and cultural properties. Alternatives in the EIS also offer increased opportunities for access to public land, and maintain a road net for recreation, while working to control inappropriate uses during critical times of the year.

The preferred alternative provides for continued multiple use of the land in the planning area. The preferred alternative also represents additional protection measures developed to reduce impacts to wildlife from oil and gas development. Additional distance and timing restrictions will reduce human presence-related disturbance to wildlife during critical time periods. Existing Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) were evaluated and new ACECs were added to protect sensitive wildlife and plant species.

Another change from the existing Great Divide Resource Management Plan (GDRMP) has been to update the reasonably foreseeable development anticipated for the next 20-year planning period. New activity projections were needed to update the impact analysis as current development in the area approaches what was anticipated to occur when the GDRMP was started in 1986.

The public is encouraged to comment on this plan in writing and at public hearings which will be held around the field office area. Written comments on the Draft EIS will be accepted until March 18, 2005, and may be submitted by mail to:

John Spehar, Project Manager
Rawlins Field Office
P.O. Box 2407
Rawlins, WY 82301

or on the internet at: http://www.rawlinsrmp.com/commentForm.asp
or via email at: comments@rawlinsrmp.com

Public hearings will be held half way through the 90-day public comment period in Rawlins, Rock Springs, Baggs, and Laramie. More information on the public meetings will be provided in upcoming press releases, and on the website.

The RMP draft EIS is available by visiting www.rawlinsrmp.com.

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