BLM RMP Comment Deadline Extended through November 26th
by Sandy Johnson/President/Las Placitas Association
On October 9, 2012 board members from Las Placitas Association and Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association met with Jesse Juen, the State Director of the BLM and his assistant Aden Seidlitz in Santa Fe and secured a 45 day extension to the comment period for the BLM Resource Management Plan. The purpose of the meeting was to convince the BLM that the Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS) in their Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the parcels in Placitas contained enough text and mapping flaws that Placitans could not accurately provide comments.
Maps presented in the plan have been superseded more than once due to errors found by LPA members studying it. Boundaries for proposed new gravel mines were not always defined in the alternatives, and text in the plan did not match maps in the plan. One alternative proposed by the BLM didn’t even have a description of the land use included at all, and page numbers between hard and electronic media differed.
With those kinds of errors, LPA and ES-CA was concerned that comments made by the citizens of Placitas could end up being ignored, or worse, members of the community could make little sense of the text and maps and not provide comments at all.
LPA and ES-CA continue to work on creating substantive comments to the BLM by the new comment period due date. Using the correct maps on the LPA web site you can see where BLM proposed mining sites are, and if you’d like to hike out there you will find that the two pieces of the 800 acres proposed for mining are now staked and marked.
Another accomplishment at this meeting was to get both LPA and ES-CA on the list of officials and agencies to be contacted when specific BLM projects are planned in the Placitas area, prior to their environmental assessments so we can effectively participate in the process. We are now going to be notified with the quarterly “Expression of Interest” letter assembled by the BLM that lists proposed mining operations for the area. Both organizations will post information as it is received about upcoming BLM activities in Placitas and if you wish to be notified you may register on the LPA and/or ES-CA to receive that information.
Please plan on submitting your comments by November 26 on the proposed use of the Placitas BLM. Participation matters. Both LPA and ES-CA will have sample comments on their respective web sites to help with the formulation of yours. You can submit your comments via email to: NM_RPFO_Comments@blm.gov.
The official BLM website is: www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/fo/Rio_Puerco_Field_Office/rpfo_planning/rpfo_draft_rmp.html
Visit the LPA Web Site for up to date information on the RMP: http://www.lasplacitas.org/rio_puerco/index.php
LPA and ES-CA were greatly aided in convincing the BLM to extend the comment period by our state and federal legislators. On the state level, State Senator John Sapien, State Representative Jim Smith and State Representative David Doyle have worked in concert with LPA and ES-CA. Senator Sapien worked with Director Juen to achieve the initial extension. State Representative David Doyle arranged the October 9 meeting, which included the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff Ryan Cangiolosi and State Energy and Minerals Secretary John Bemis. Patricia Dominguez from Representative Martin Heinrich’s staff also provided help on the federal level. We greatly appreciate the effort they all made on behalf of Placitas.