[Federal Register: December 5, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 235)]
[Page 74190-74191]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Bureau of Land Management

[NM 120-06-1610-DQ]

Notice of Availability of the Socorro Proposed Resource 
Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, the Bureau 
of Land Management (BLM) has prepared the Socorro Proposed Resource 
Management Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement (PRMP/FEIS) for 
the Socorro Field Office in New Mexico.

DATES: BLM Planning Regulations (43 CFR 1610.5-2) state that any person 
who meets the conditions as described in the regulations may protest 
the BLM's Proposed RMP. A person who meets the conditions and files a 
protest must file the protest within 30 days of the date that the 
Environmental Protection Agency publishes this notice in the Federal 

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Socorro PRMP/FEIS have been sent to affected 
Federal, state, and local government agencies and to interested 
parties. Copies of the PRMP/FEIS are available for public inspection at 
the Socorro Field Office. Interested persons may also review the PRMP/
FEIS on the Internet at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.nm.blm.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin I. Carson, Socorro Field Office, 
901 S. Highway 85, Socorro, New Mexico 87801; or by telephone at (575) 
838-1280; fax at (575) 835-0223; or e-mail at nm_comments@nm.blm.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The planning area encompasses all lands,

[[Page 74191]]

regardless of jurisdiction, within Socorro and Catron counties, New 
Mexico, totaling 8.7 million acres. The decision area for the PRMP/FEIS 
includes 1.5 million acres of BLM-administered lands and 6.1 million 
acres of Federal mineral estate located in both counties. Until the 
Record of Decision on the PRMP/FEIS is signed, these lands and minerals 
will be managed in accordance with the 1989 Socorro Resource Management 
Plan and subsequent amendments.
    The PRMP/FEIS describes the physical, cultural, historic, and 
socioeconomic resources in and around the planning area and documents 
the direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental impacts of four 
alternatives for BLM-administered lands and resources within the 
planning area. The impact analysis focuses on resource issues and 
concerns identified during scoping and public involvement activities. 
Issues identified during scoping (not in priority order) and from 
public comment were related to special designations, soil and 
vegetation conditions, transportation and access, energy development, 
land use, and recreation and heritage tourism opportunities.
    A summary of the four alternatives in the PRMP/FEIS are as follows. 
The No-Action Alternative, Alternative A, represents the continuation 
of existing management, which is defined by the 1989 Socorro RMP and 
subsequent amendments. Alternative B, the BLM's proposed alternative, 
proposes managing the public lands for multiple uses and sustaining the 
health, diversity, and productivity of the lands for present and future 
generations. Alternative C emphasizes resource protection, while 
Alternative D emphasizes commodity production and use, while still 
complying with applicable laws, regulations, and BLM policies. Within 
all alternatives, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs) have 
been identified to protect certain resources. The proposed alternative 
has identified the following ACECs due to their significant cultural, 
scenic, or natural values: Cerro Pomo, Horse Mountain, Ladron Mountain 
Devil's Backbone Complex, Mockingbird Gap, Pelona Mountain, Sawtooth, 
and Zuni Salt Lake. After the Draft RMP/EIS was released to the public, 
acreage corrections were made to the following proposed ACECs to 
address geographical information system data errors. These errors 
affected only the Alternative B acreages for the Cerro Pomo ACEC and 
the Tinajas ACEC. The corrections are shown in the table below.

                                                  Draft RMP/EIS                     Proposed RMP/EIS
Cerro Pomo ACEC..........................  26,284 acres...............  28,248 acres.
Tinajas ACEC.............................  1,062 acres................  0 acres.

    (For additional information on management restrictions and acreage 
figures for each ACEC refer to Chapter 2 of the PRMP/FEIS.) These 
corrections do not represent a change in the management of the lands 
that were evaluated in the Draft RMP/EIS. The Draft RMP/EIS was 
released to the public for a 90-day comment period in April 2007. The 
BLM hosted public meetings in Datil and Socorro, New Mexico, to answer 
questions about the document, as well as to solicit comments from the 
public. Public comments on the Draft RMP/EIS are on file and available 
for public review at the address listed above. Public comments on the 
Draft RMP/EIS resulted in the addition of clarifying text in the PRMP/
FEIS, but did not substantively change the proposed decisions in the 
preferred alternative.
    Instructions for filing a protest with the Director of the BLM 
regarding the PRMP/FEIS may be found in the Dear Reader Letter of 
Socorro Proposed Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental 
Impact Statement and at 43 CFR 1610.5-2. E-mail and faxed protests will 
not be accepted as valid protests unless the protesting party also 
provides the original letter by either regular or overnight mail 
postmarked by the close of the protest period. Under these conditions, 
the BLM will consider the e-mail or faxed protest as an advance copy 
and it will receive full consideration. If you wish to provide the BLM 
with such advance notification, please direct faxed protests to the 
attention of the BLM protest coordinator at (202) 452-5112, and e-
mailed protests to Brenda_Hudgens-Williams@blm.gov.
    All protests including the follow up letter (if e-mailing or 
faxing) must be in writing and must be mailed to the following address:
    Regular Mail: Overnight Mail: Director (210), Attention: Brenda 
Williams,P.O. Box 66538, Washington, DC 20035.
    Overnight Mail: Director (210), Attention: Brenda Williams, 1620 L 
Street, NW., Suite 1075, Washington, DC 20036.
    Before including your phone number, e-mail address, or other 
personal identifying information in your protest, you should be aware 
that your entire protest--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your protest to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

Ron Dunton,
New Mexico Deputy State Director.
 [FR Doc. E8-28707 Filed 12-4-08; 8:45 am]