[Federal Register: February 18, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 34)]
[Notices]               
[Page 9594-9595]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr18fe11-73]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

[LLAZ910000.L14300000.ET0000. LXSIURAM0000 241A; AZA 035138]

 
Notice of Availability of the Draft Northern Arizona Proposed 
Withdrawal Environmental Impact Statement and Revisions to the 
Withdrawal Application, Arizona

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended (NEPA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has 
prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Northern 
Arizona Proposed Withdrawal and with this notice is announcing the 
opening of the comment period.

DATES: To ensure comments will be considered, the BLM must receive 
written comments on the Northern Arizona Proposed Withdrawal Draft EIS 
within 45 days following the date the Environmental Protection Agency 
publishes its Notice of Availability in the Federal Register. The BLM 
will announce future meetings or hearings and any other public 
involvement activities at least 15 days in advance through public 
notices, media releases, and/or mailings.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the Northern Arizona 
Proposed Withdrawal Draft EIS by any of the following methods:
     E-mail: NAZproposedwithdrawal@azblm.org.
     Mail: Northern Arizona Proposed Withdrawal Project, ATTN: 
Scott Florence, District Manager, Bureau of Land Management, Arizona 
Strip District Office, 345 East Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah 
84790-6714.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Chris Horyza, Project Manager, 
telephone 602-417-9446; address Bureau of Land Management, Arizona 
State Office, One N Central Ave., Suite 800, Phoenix Arizona 85004; e-
mail chris_horyza@blm.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On July 21, 2009, the Department of the 
Interior published notice of the Secretary of the Interior's 
(Secretary) proposal to withdraw (proposed withdrawal) approximately 1 
million acres of National Forest System lands and public lands in 
northern Arizona from location and entry under the Mining Law of 1872, 
(30 U.S.C. 22-54) (Mining Law), subject to valid existing rights. The 
purpose of the withdrawal, if determined to be appropriate, would be to 
protect the Grand Canyon watershed from adverse effects of locatable 
hardrock mineral exploration and mining.
    Under section 204 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
(FLPMA), publication of the Federal Register notice of the proposed 
withdrawal had the effect of segregating the lands involved for up to 2 
years from the location and entry of new mining claims, subject to 
valid existing rights, during which time the BLM will complete an 
analysis of the proposed withdrawal. The notice temporarily segregated 
the following described lands:

Gila and Salt River Meridian

Tps. 28 to 31 N., R. 1 E.,
Tps. 40 and 41 N., R. 1 E.,
Tps. 28 to 30 N., R. 2 E.,
Tps. 27 to 30 N., Rs. 3 to 6 E.,
Tps. 37 to 40 N., R. 3 E.,
Tps. 36 and 37 N., Rs. 4 and 5 E.,
T. 38 N., Rs. 3 to 5 E.,
T. 37 N., R. 6 E.,
Tps. 38 and 39 N., R. 6 E.,
Tps. 39 and 40 N., R. 7 E.,
T. 31 N., R. 1 W.,
Tps. 38 to 41 N., R. 1 W.,
Tps. 38 to 40 N., R. 2 W.,
Tps. 36 to 40 N., R. 3 W.,
Tps. 35 to 40 N., Rs. 4 and 5 W.,
Tps. 35 to 39 N., Rs. 6 and 7 W.

    For more detailed information, refer to the map dated September 17, 
2010, posted on the Internet at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/mining/timeout.html. This map is also on file at the Arizona Strip 
District Office at the address below and can be viewed there upon 
request.
    The Northern Arizona Proposed Withdrawal Draft EIS, now available 
for public review, has been prepared in accordance with NEPA.
    Copies of the Northern Arizona Proposed Withdrawal Draft EIS are 
available in the BLM Arizona Strip District Office, 345 East Riverside 
Dr., St. George, Utah 84790.
    Copies can also be found at:

BLM Arizona State Office at One N. Central, Suite 800, Phoenix, Arizona 
85004;
BLM Phoenix District, 21605 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, Arizona 85027;
BLM Utah State Office, 440 W. 200 S, Suite 500, Salt Lake City, Utah 
84145;
USFS Tonto National Forest, 2324 E. McDowell Rd., Phoenix, Arizona 
85006;
USFS Kaibab National Forest, 800 S. 6th St., Williams, Arizona 86046;
USFS Kaibab National Forest, 430 S. Main St., Fredonia, Arizona 86022; 
and
USFS Coconino National Forest, 1824 S. Thompson St., Flagstaff, Arizona 
86001.

    In addition, the EIS can be viewed at libraries in the following 
locations:

Wiliams Public Library, 113 1st Street, Williams, Arizona 86046; and
Fredonia Public Library, 118 N. Main St., Fredonia, Arizona 86022.

    You may also access the document on the Internet at:
    http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/mining/timeout.html
    The Proposed Action analyzed in the Draft EIS is the withdrawal of 
1,010,776 acres near Grand Canyon National Park from location and entry 
under the Mining Law for a period of 20 years, subject to valid 
existing rights. The lands included in the proposed action include 
those managed by the BLM and managed by the U.S. Forest Service and are 
located within portions of the Grand Canyon watershed. These lands 
contain significant environmental and cultural resources, including the 
nearby iconic Grand Canyon National Park, as well as substantial 
uranium deposits. The importance of the management of these resources 
has generated much public and Congressional interest. Public scoping 
for this project began on August 26, 2009 (74 FR 43152-43153), with 
publication of a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register, and closed 
on October 30, 2009. During that time 83,525 comment letters were 
received. Important issues identified during scoping include:
     Change in geologic conditions and availability of uranium 
resources;
     Dewatering of perched aquifers and changes in water 
availability in deep

[[Page 9595]]

    aquifers;
     Contamination of both ground and surface water;
     Effects to endangered, threatened, and special status 
plants and animal
    species;
     Visual intrusions to Grand Canyon National Park visitors;
     Noise disruptions to Grand Canyon National Park visitors;
     Effects to cultural resources and Traditional Cultural 
Properties;
     Potential public health effects due to exposure to 
uranium; and
     Effects to the local, regional, or national economy.

The Draft EIS considers these issues in its analysis of four 
alternatives. Alternative A is the No Action Alternative, under which 
no lands would be withdrawn and mineral exploration and mining would 
continue throughout the proposed withdrawal area in accordance with 
existing regulations and land use plans. Alternative B, which is the 
Proposed Action, is a Secretarial withdrawal for 20 years, subject to 
valid existing rights, of approximately 1,010,776 acres in three 
parcels from location and entry under the Mining Law, but not the 
mineral leasing, geothermal leasing, mineral materials, or public land 
laws. Two of the three parcels are north of the Grand Canyon National 
Park on BLM-managed Arizona Strip lands and the North Kaibab Ranger 
District of the Kaibab National Forest, and the remaining parcel is 
south of the Grand Canyon on the Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab 
National Forest. Alternative C is a Secretarial withdrawal of 
approximately 652,986 acres from the Mining Law for 20 years, subject 
to valid existing rights. This alternative would withdraw the largest 
contiguous area identified on resource location maps with 
concentrations of cultural, hydrologic, recreational, visual, and 
biological resources which could be adversely affected by additional 
locatable mineral exploration and mining. Alternative D is a 
Secretarial withdrawal of 300,681 acres from the Mining Law for 20 
years, subject to valid existing rights. This alternative would 
withdraw the contiguous area identified on resource location maps where 
there is the highest concentration of overlapping cultural, hydrologic, 
recreational, visual, and biological resources, which could be 
adversely affected by additional locatable mineral exploration and 
mining.
    The Draft EIS analyzes the potential effects of the alternatives on 
resources within, and in the vicinity of, the potential withdrawal 
areas as well as within, and in the vicinity of, the Grand Canyon 
National Park. Analyses have been conducted for potential effects to 
air quality, geology and minerals, ground and surface water resources, 
soil resources, vegetation resources, fish and wildlife in general, 
special status plant and animal species including those listed as 
threatened or endangered, visual resources, soundscapes, cultural 
resources, American Indian resources, wilderness, recreation, social, 
and economic conditions.
    Thirteen agencies and two American Indian Tribes have entered into 
Cooperating Agency agreements with the BLM, including the U.S. Forest 
Service, Kaibab National Forest; the National Park Service, Grand 
Canyon National Park; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the U.S. 
Geological Survey; the Arizona Game and Fish Department; the Arizona 
Geological Survey; the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral 
Resources; the Arizona State Lands Department; the Hualapai Tribe; the 
Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians; Coconino County, Arizona; Mohave County, 
Arizona; Kane County, Utah; San Juan County, Utah; and Washington 
County, Utah.
    Please note that public comments and information submitted, 
including names, street addresses, and e-mail addresses of persons who 
submit comments, will be available for public review and disclosure at 
the Arizona Strip District Office address given above during regular 
business hours (7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.), Monday through Friday, except 
holidays.
    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.

    Authority: 40 CFR 1506.6 and 1506.10.

James G. Kenna,
Arizona State Director.
[FR Doc. 2011-3714 Filed 2-17-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-32-P