BLM's planning amendment still underway


The first major update to the regional planning document for the Bureau of Land Management is still not available for public review.

In 2014, the Farmington District Office of the BLM started to update to its 2003-issued Resource Management Plan, which did not take into account hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which has come into widespread use in the San Juan Basin in the past decade. Despite a directive from the Department of Interior to expedite such processes, the update is at least another month from being made public, according to Richard Fields, a BLM official, during the July 10 meeting of the office's citizen advisory group.

A draft of the plan was released to "cooperating agencies," such as the U.S. Forest Service, and the BLM has received over 1,000 comments to sort through and respond to. The original draft of the plan was 1,250 pages long, though the final draft will have to be either 300 or 150 pages to line up with the Interior Department directive, according to Fields.

Furthermore, an archeological contractor will have to review nearly 5,500 native cultural sites found on 24 parcels that the BLM was supposed to put up for lease earlier this year. The agency postponed the lease sale until December. However, the results of the survey likely won't be done in time to include in the planning update.

-- Compiled by Cody Hooks