The BLM has held a couple of meetings in the area of Mesa County to let the "public" know of there plans, but were not letting anyone put in public input. Here is there plan.
Here are a couple emails from a gentleman that went to the one in Grand Junction. I personally did not go, because I did not know it was happening until after the fact.
I just wanted everyone to know that even John Justman noted that they had 9-10 armed law enforcement at the GJ BLM meeting tonight and he did not like that. Intimidating the public you might say.
I showed up at 6pm and it got interesting. They would not answer some basic questions and voices were raised a couple times. Dave Grossman GVTA (who was raising his voice at me that I could not ask questions) and I were asked to leave at one point but since he was the one yelling, he just walked away. I was told they are not there to answer questions, they are there to tell us how to make a comment.
The first thing I noticed is they had 30 fact sheets of information regarding the RMP on the tables. I noticed that they were not providing the information disclosed on Page M-13/M-14 (attached) of the RMP, the information which discloses the road closures in miles. This should have been the first flyer handed to everyone as they walked in the door and they were not even providing it! When I asked the BLM personnel where the information was, he said it was a good idea and they might have it at the next meeting. Might!
During the presentation Ms. Bailey kept referring to everything in miles but they disclose things on paper in “acres of designated routes”- no one knows what they are talking about. The fact sheet flyer that they did provide regarding road closures is attached. It just discloses motorized access in acres of designated routes. In the preferred alternative “B” it indicates we are going to have 768,800 acres of designated routes, sounds good-no one really knows what that means, but they do not disclose that nearly half of that acreage is “Administrative Routes”. In fact nowhere in the RMP does it disclose how many acres of motorized access is going to be Administrative Routes”.
The residents of Mesa County do not understand what’s going on because they are being handed mis-information. When I brought up the 2100 miles of road closures the crowd asked the BLM presenter if this was accurate and she would not answer the question. I left the room in disgust.
This is the third public meeting, I apologize for not going sooner but Debeque and Collbran got this same information.
During the presentation Michelle Bailey indicated that this RMP is the result of the public comments received in 2008/09. I think we need to FOIA those documents, because my guess is the residents of Mesa County never asked to close 67% of the road access. Ultimately by asking enough the BLM is going to half to disclose how many miles of roads are going to be closed to the general public.
Thanks for your help, we are going to need it.
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I wanted to comment on a couple other things regarding the RMP and last night’s GJ meeting.
1. All the Fact Sheets that were handed out last night have now renamed Alternative B as “Balanced”. They are removing the “Preferred” title that has always been used for RMP’s when discussing Alternative B. The RMP online and in the CD, the Alternative “B” is always title “Preferred”. Balance sure has a “fair” undertone to it though.
2. The BLM told us last night at the presentation that the “Preferred” or Balanced Alternative B (which closes about 2100 miles of routes) is the result of public comments collected in 2008/09. I can’t believe that is accurate and I’m going to submit a FOIA today for the comments as I was told last night they would be glad to provide the comments. They are also telling everyone that if they don’t like something they just need to submit a comment and we can keep it open. I don’t believe that either, as they will not disclose how many comments are needed to keep a route open.
3. A friend of mine that was at the meeting last night, was told by BLM officials that routes were voted on by BLM staff on whether to keep them open or close them. That’s scary if it happened, where was the pubic if this voting was actually done?
4. The BLM wants us to focus on specific routes and not worry about the totality of Alternatives B-D. We live here, we should start with the overall picture first and then start to analyze specific routes.
5. Since the BLM will not answer questions in a public group setting I’m going to ask our County Commissioners to encourage a Public Town Hall meeting with the BLM. The BLM should be willing to answer our questions in a public forum. This is what we expect from politicians and the BLM does work for us. Additionally, we need a another round of pubic open houses, the RMP was just released and its 1500 or more pages, the public needs to have a chance to read this Congressional like document. Additionally, we need pages M-13 and M-14 (total miles closed) as a factsheet and proper disclosure of the Administrative routes in terms of “acres of designated routes” as discussed in my email last night.
6. When I showed BLM personnel this 2001 quote from former BLM Realty Estate specialist, John Lancelot- “But if we can find documentation, we’ll HELP support RS-2477 claims” the BLM would not answer why they will no longer consider RS 2477. They just looked at me and smiled, one employee indicated it’s not a part of NEPA. I answered with, how can you guys ignore the laws that are in place?
I personally am very tired of the government trying to shut us out of "OUR" public lands and closing roads, that many are 50-70 years old (some even older), that should never be or never have been closed in the first place.