Meeting to be held at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 7 in Burns

by Randy Parks Burns Times-Herald 

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is holding public meetings throughout Eastern Oregon on the draft Oregon Sub-Regional Greater Sage Grouse Resource Management Plan (RMP) Amendment/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which is under a 90-day public comment period until Feb. 20, 2014.

These public meetings will allow attendees the opportunity to review the draft EIS, maps, and other informational materials, talk with project team members, and submit written comments on the project.

The meeting in Burns will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7, at the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center.

The draft RMP Amendment/EIS considers six possible management alternatives for maintaining and increasing habitat for Greater Sage Grouse on BLM-administered lands in Oregon. Approximately 10 million acres of Oregon’s Greater Sage Grouse habitat is on BLM-administered lands. The decisions in this RMP Amendment apply only to BLM-administered lands in Oregon. They do not apply to private land. However, Harney County Judge Steve Grasty encourages people to attend the meeting because of the impact that the decision can make on a large number of residents.

“If you’re wondering who should attend the meeting, the answer is lots of folks,” Grasty said. “Hunters, and anyone who recreates on BLM land. Anyone who makes a living off the land, including miners and permit holders. Anyone with kids who would like them to have access to public lands. And anyone interested in economics in conjunction with the environment.”

Grasty added that the public’s input is needed to select an alternative to manage lands for sage grouse habitat.

“The social impact needs to be taken into consideration,” Grasty said. “Look what happened with the spotted owl decsion. Small towns all over the state were affected by that decision. People need to ask themselves, ‘How will this decision impact me, my family, and the long-term future?’ Then they need to offer solutions, if they have them.”

The meeting on Jan. 7 will be the only local opportunity for residents to comment in person on the draft RMP Amendment/EIS.

Written comments will be accepted until Feb. 20.

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