BLM seeks public input
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Casper Field Office is currently seeking public input on a preliminary environmental assessment (EA) to provide supplemental analysis on the Marton Ranch Acquisition EA, which was originally issued by the BLM in May 2022 with the agency’s decision to purchase the 36,000-acre property.
In two separate press releases dated April 21, the BLM and Gov. Mark Gordon remind individuals the 21-day public comment period will soon close on May 12.
This supplemental analysis comes in response to a settlement agreement between the state of Wyoming and BLM, which took place in October 2022, after the state filed an appeal challenging the BLM’s purchase of the Marton Ranch near Casper in June of the same year.
According to the governor’s press release, the state expressed concerns the BLM didn’t properly involve the public in the acquisition process and the EA did not adequately consider the impact this purchase would have on recreation along the North Platte River.
After Wyoming filed a statement of reasons in support of its appeal, with the the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA), BLM filed a motion to set aside and remand its decision so it could “reevaluate its May 18, 2022 decision, provide additional opportunities for public notice and comment and supplement its environmental analysis to better address issues raised by the state.”
In their press releasee, BLM notes as part of the settlement they have agreed to conduct additional analysis of resource issues raised by the state in its appeal.
“Resources or issues identified for further inspection include aquatic invasive species, fisheries and recreational settings. The preliminary EA does not consider future decisions regarding potential uses of the land, but rather further evaluates the environmental impacts associated with BLM’s decision to purchase the land,” BLM explains.
According to Acting BLM Casper Field Office Manager Ben Bigalke, BLM is currently seeking public comments specific to potential impacts which could result from property changing from private to public hands.
“The public and our partner agencies will substantially contribute to the future management of the property during the land use planning process, which we plan to undertake in the near future,” he says.
Gordon also called on Wyoming citizens to provide comments on the EA.
“Embracing multiple use principles, which in this case includes increased public access on public lands, has many benefits to the public and Wyoming. This is why I did not oppose this project but opposed the process used,” Gordon states.
“Meaningful public input and environmental analysis are critical steps in any federal land acquisition process, and this public comment period is necessary to fulfill the agreement between BLM and the state of Wyoming,” he adds.
Gordon continues, “I encourage interested members of the public to take advantage of this time to be involved. I also appreciate the cooperation and communication with the Wyoming and Casper BLM offices, who have ensured our state agencies were consulted during the supplemental analysis. I look forward to the future land use planning process and seeing what opportunities the future of this land may hold.”
Comments will be accepted by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or through the BLM’s ePlanning website at eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2018049/510. The preliminary EA can also be viewed at this website.
Hardcopy comments can also be mailed or hand delivered to the BLM Casper Field Office, Attn: Mike Robinson, 2987 Prospector Dr., Casper, WY 82604.
For more information, call the Casper Field Office at 307-261-7600.
Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to email@example.com.