[Federal Register: October 17, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 202)]
[Page 61900-61901]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Bureau of Land Management


Notice of Intent To Prepare Resource Management Plans and 
Associated Environmental Impact Statement, Initiate Public Scoping, and 
Call for Coal and Other Resource Information

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Intent and Call for Coal and Other Resource 


SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the Wyoming Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM) intends to prepare (1) a Resource Management Plan 
(RMP) for the Cody Field Office and (2) a RMP for the Worland Field 
Office. These two actions will require a single Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS). These two RMPs and the associated EIS will be called 
the Bighorn Basin Resource Management Plan Revision Project. The 
resulting RMPs will replace the Washakie and Grass Creek RMPs, in 
Worland, and the Cody RMP. The BLM is also soliciting resource 
information for coal and other resources for the planning area.

DATES: The BLM will announce public scoping meetings to identify 
relevant issues through local news media, a project newsletter, and the 
project Web site http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/programs/Planning/RMPs/bighorn at least 15 days prior to the first meeting. The BLM will 
provide formal opportunities for public participation upon publication 
of the Draft RMP/EIS, currently scheduled for 2010.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by any of the following 
    Web Site: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/programs/Planning/RMPs/bighorn.
    E-mail: BBRMP_WYMail@blm.gov .
    Mail: Worland Field Office, Attn: RMP Project Manager, 101 South 
23rd, P.O. Box 119, Worland, WY 82401.
    In order to reduce the use of paper and control costs, we strongly 
encourage the public to submit comments electronically at the project 
Web site. Comments submitted to BLM for use in this planning effort, 
including names and home addresses of individuals submitting comments, 
are subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 
(5 U.S.C. 522). Written comments received during the public scoping 
process may be published as part of the environmental analysis process. 
After the close of the public scoping period, public comments 
submitted, including names, e-mail addresses, and street addresses of 
respondents, will be available for public review at the BLM Worland 
Office during regular business hours (7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), Monday 
through Friday (except federal holidays).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: For further information and/or to have your 
name added to the project mailing list, contact Caleb Hiner, RMP 
Project Manager, at the Worland Field Office (307) 347-5171.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The purpose of the public scoping process is 
to identify issues and planning criteria that should be considered in 
the RMP/EIS and to initiate public participation in the planning 
process. BLM personnel will be present at scoping meetings to explain 
the planning process and other requirements for preparing a RMP/EIS.
    The Planning Area for the project includes lands within the BLM 
Worland and Cody Field Offices' administrative boundaries, in all of 
Big Horn, Park, and Washakie Counties, and most of Hot Springs County 
in north-central Wyoming. The Planning Area includes all lands, 
regardless of jurisdiction, totaling 5.6 million acres; however, the 
BLM will only make decisions on lands that fall under the BLM's 
jurisdiction. Lands within the Planning Area under the BLM's 
jurisdiction make up the Decision Area. The Decision Area consists of 
BLM-administered surface, totaling 3.2 million acres, and mineral 
estate, totaling 4.2 million acres. The Planning Area includes 12 
Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs), nine Areas of Critical Environmental 
Concern (ACECs), two areas of Special Designation, and seven Special 
Recreation Management Areas.
    This planning process will fulfill the needs and obligations set 
forth by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Federal Land 
Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), and BLM management policies. The BLM 
will work collaboratively with interested parties to identify the 
management decisions that are best suited to local, regional, and 
national needs and concerns.
    The purpose of the public scoping process is to determine relevant 
issues that will influence the scope of the environmental analysis and 
EIS alternatives. These issues also guide the planning process. You may 
submit comments on issues and planning criteria in writing to the BLM 
at any public scoping meeting, or you may submit them to the BLM using 
one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section above. To be most 
helpful, you

[[Page 61901]]

should submit formal scoping comments during the comment period. Before 
including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal 
identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your 
entire comment--including your personal identifying information--may be 
made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your 
comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public 
review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All 
submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals 
identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations 
or businesses, are available for public inspection in their entirety. 
The comments and list of attendees for each scoping meeting will be 
available to the public for 30 days after the scoping period to clarify 
the views expressed.
    Preliminary issues and management concerns have been identified by 
BLM personnel, other agencies, and in meetings with individuals and 
user groups. They represent the BLM's knowledge to date regarding the 
existing issues and concerns with current land management. The major 
issues that will be addressed in this planning effort include: Energy 
and minerals management; climate change and greenhouse gas emissions; 
management of riparian areas and water quality concerns; livestock 
grazing management; recreation/visitor use and safety management; 
travel management, including Off Highway Vehicle use; management of 
wildlife habitat including protection of sensitive species habitat; 
land tenure adjustments, realty leases, and utility corridor rights-of-
way; management of areas with special values, such as ACECs; and visual 
resource management.
    Comments received during scoping will be placed in one of three 
categories: (1) Issues to be resolved in the plan; (2) Issues to be 
resolved through policy or administrative action; or (3) Issues beyond 
the scope of this plan.
    The BLM will provide a rationale for the categorization of 
comments. In addition to these major issues, a number of management 
questions and concerns will be addressed in the RMPs. The public is 
encouraged to help identify these questions and concerns during the 
scoping phase. Planning criteria are the constraints or ground rules 
that are developed to guide and direct the revision of the RMPs. The 
planning criteria serve to: ensure the planning effort is consistent 
with and incorporates legal requirements; provide for management of all 
resource uses in the planning area; focus on the issues; identify the 
scope and parameters of the planning effort; inform the public of what 
to expect from the planning effort; and help ensure the RMP revision 
process is accomplished efficiently. Planning criteria are based on 
laws and regulations, guidance provided by the BLM Wyoming State 
Director, results of consultation and coordination with the public, 
input from other agencies and governmental entities, and Indian tribes, 
analysis of information pertinent to the planning area, public input, 
and professional judgment.
    Preliminary planning criteria are: (1) This planning effort will 
recognize valid existing rights; (2) management actions must comply 
with laws, executive orders, policy, and regulations; (3) lands covered 
in the RMP/EIS for the planning effort include lands that may affect, 
or be affected by, the management occurring on the BLM-administered 
public lands in the planning area; (4) within the planning area, there 
will be no RMP decisions made on non-federal land surface or mineral 
estate, on Federal lands administered by other Federal agencies, or the 
Federal mineral estate underlying Federal lands administered by other 
Federal agencies; (5) a collaborative and multi-jurisdictional approach 
will be used, where possible, to jointly determine the desired future 
condition and management direction for the public lands; (6) to the 
extent possible and within legal and regulatory parameters, BLM 
management and planning decisions will complement the planning and 
management decisions of other agencies, State and local governments, 
and Native American tribes, with jurisdictions intermingled with and 
adjacent to the planning area; (7) planning and management direction 
will be focused on the relative values of resources and not the 
combination of uses that will give the greatest economic return or 
economic output; (8) where practicable and timely for the planning 
effort, current scientific information, research, and new technologies 
will be considered; (9) Reasonably Foreseeable Action or Activity (RFA) 
scenarios for all land and resource uses (including minerals) will be 
developed and portrayed based on historical, existing, and projected 
levels for all programs; (10) existing endangered species recovery 
plans, including plans for reintroduction of endangered and other 
species, will be considered. The BLM will use an interdisciplinary 
approach to develop the RMPs to ensure consideration of the variety of 
resource issues and concerns identified. Specialists with expertise in 
the following disciplines will be involved in the planning process: 
rangeland management, minerals and geology, renewable energy, forestry, 
outdoor recreation, archaeology, paleontology, caves and karsts, 
wildlife and fisheries, lands and realty, hydrology, soils, sociology, 
special management areas, hazardous materials, wild horses, and 
    Parties interested in leasing and development of Federal coal in 
the planning area should provide coal resource data for their area(s) 
of interest. Specifically, information is requested on the location, 
quality, and quantity of Federal coal with development potential, and 
on surface resource values related to the 20 coal unsuitability 
criteria described in 43 CFR part 3461. This information will be used 
for any necessary updating of coal screening determination (43 CFR 
3420.1-4) in the Decision Area and in the environmental analysis. In 
addition to coal resource data, the BLM seeks resource information and 
data for other public land values (e.g., air quality, cultural and 
historic resources, fire/fuels, fisheries, forestry, lands and realty, 
non-energy minerals and geology, oil and gas (including coal-bed 
natural gas), paleontology, rangeland management, recreation, soil, 
water, and wildlife) in the planning area. The purpose of this request 
is to assure that the planning effort has sufficient information and 
data to consider a reasonable range of resource uses, management 
options, and alternatives for the public lands.
    Proprietary data marked as confidential may be submitted in 
response to this call for coal and other resource information. Please 
submit all proprietary information submissions to the address listed 
above. The BLM will treat submissions marked as ``Confidential'' in 
accordance with applicable laws and regulations governing the 
confidentiality of such information.

    Authority: 43 CFR 1610.2(c) and 3420.1-2.

    Dated: September 29, 2008.
Donald A. Simpson,
Acting State Director.
[FR Doc. E8-23536 Filed 10-16-08; 8:45 am]