Pocatello, ID (July 8, 2009) - A law-firm representing a national, trail-based recreation group submitted a letter with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) challenging their decision-making process regarding the ongoing closure of a popular off-highway vehicle riding area in Central California. The document cites data gleaned from a recent Freedom of Information Act request filed in May 2009, by the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC).
The letter specifically points to the fact that the agency summarily dismissing important information or questions submitted by BLM staff or by BRC consultants during the public scoping period which followed the functional closure of the of the entire 75,000 acre Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA) on May 1, 2008, to all public uses.
The letter, signed by Paul Turcke, an attorney for the BlueRibbon Coalition, highlights a number of the documents obtained, such as a memo authored by BLM experts seeking underlying data and questioning methodology relied upon by the EPA in its May, 2008 report that forms the basis for BLM's closure of the CCMA. The BLM closed the area through an emergency order in conjunction with the release of the EPA Report in 2008, but has promised to reevaluate the report and all reasonable management options in an ongoing and more robust public planning process. This is expected to result in the release of a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) in 2009.
"The EIS range of alternatives is not the place to fully concur in or reject EPA's analysis, but is instead designed to allow BLM and the public to meaningfully consider and provide input upon possible management options," the letter concludes.
The draft EIS was previously scheduled for release in January 2009, but has been delayed several times. After it is released, it will be subject to public comment and will undergo further review before BLM announces a final decision.
View document here: http://www.sharetrails.org/uploads/FOIA_CCMA_Turcke_Letter_July_8_2009_Final.pdf
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The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. 1-800-258-3742. http://www.sharetrails.org