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Legislative and Regulatory Update

Comments needed on another BLM management plan
Miners and prospectors need to take a hard look at a huge management plan proposed by BLM that encompasses 4.8 million acres of public land in the Carson City district, which covers areas in both Nevada and California.
 
The BLM wants to place 1,235,800 additional acres off-limits to prospectors, miners and other public land users. Written comments on the proposed plan will be accepted through March 27.
 
The Draft Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement total 1,872 pages. The Carson City district covers Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, Storey and Washoe counties in Nevada and portions of Alpine, Lassen and Plumas counties in California.
 
BLM says its preferred alternative provides an “intermediate” level of resource protection. Areas closed to mineral entry in the district would increase from 564,200 acres to 1.8 million acres. 
 
The proposed management plan is available online at http://on.doi.gov/1uYBNGT

Constructive comments can be emailed to blm_nv_ccdo_rmp@blm.gov or mailed to: Carson City RMP, BLM Carson City District Office, 5665 Morgan Mill Road, Carson City, Nevada 89701.
 
AEMA joins with others in lawsuit asking court to set aside illegal settlement 
The American Exploration & Mining Association (AEMA) announced that it has joined three other plaintiffs in filing a lawsuit in federal District Court for the District of Nevada to set aside the settlement the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) reached in 2011 with environmental groups. The settlement unlawfully prohibits USFWS from carrying out the purposes of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), including maintaining the Greater Sage Grouse as a candidate species, and forces the agency to decide whether to list the bird as a threatened or endangered species by September 30, 2015, the arbitrary decision deadline mandated in the settlement.
 
AEMA and the other co-plaintiffs, the Nevada Association of Counties (“NACO”), the Nevada Mineral Resources Alliance (“NVMRA”), and F.I.M. Corp., a family-owned sheep ranching operation in western Nevada and eastern California, assert the USFWS must follow the ESA. In the ESA, Congress directs USFWS to consider three options when deciding the status of species: listing as threatened or endangered is warranted; listing is not warranted; or listing is warranted but precluded by other species that are more imperiled and have a higher listing priority. Warranted but precluded species like Greater Sage Grouse are known as “candidate species.”
 
“The settlement is illegal because it eliminates the congressionally mandated ‘warranted but precluded’ category for the Greater Sage Grouse and the other 289 species included in the settlement, sets arbitrary decision deadlines and frustrates the very purposes of the Endangered Species Act” said Laura Skaer, AEMA Executive Director. “We and the other co-plaintiffs are asking the court to set aside the illegal settlement and require USFWS to follow the law as enacted by Congress and evaluate whether the Greater Sage Grouse should remain a candidate species. This is particularly important for Greater Sage Grouse because intensive state, local and private habitat conservation measures are in progress throughout Nevada and other Western states with Greater Sage Grouse habitat.”
© ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal, CMJ Inc.
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