Category Archives: Local News

Press Release: BLM Moab Field Office

News Release
Moab Field Office, Utah
July 28, 2016

BLM Seeks Input on Rio Algom Groundwater Monitoring Project

Moab, Utah—The Bureau of Land Management Moab Field Office is seeking public input on a proposal to modify a mine plan for the Rio Algom Mining LLC Groundwater Monitoring Project in San Juan County, Utah. In June of 2013, BLM approved the installation of 18 groundwater monitoring wells in the Lisbon Valley area. The purpose of the project is to monitor movement of contaminated groundwater and remain in compliance with the Utah Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control.  Rio Algom Mining LLC is proposing to install up to 7 additional groundwater monitoring wells and four core holes, two of which may also be converted into monitoring wells, in order to better characterize subsurface conditions.

The public is encouraged to participate by reviewing the proposal and providing written comments regarding issues or concerns that should be considered during the planning process. The proposal is available on BLM’s ePlanning website at:  Scoping comments will be accepted electronically through the ePlanning website or by mail until August 29, 2016.

Please note that the most useful comments are those that contain new technical or scientific information relevant to the proposal.  Comments which contain only opinions or preferences will not receive a formal response but may be considered in the BLM decision-making process.  Please reference “Rio Algom” when mailing comments.  Written comments may be mailed to the following address:

Bureau of Land Management
Moab Field Office
Attn: Minerals Program, Rio Algom
82 East Dogwood,
Moab, UT 84532

To be most helpful, please submit comments before the close of the scoping period.  Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time.  While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.  BLM will not consider anonymous comments.  All submissions from organizations and businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be available for public inspection in their entirety.

In addition to NEPA, individuals can participate in the proposed project’s National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 process.  To provide input in this process, please submit written requests to Don Montoya, archaeologist for the BLM-Moab Field Office, explaining your interest in the project and/or concerns with potential effects related to historic properties from the project.

For further information, please contact David Pals at (435) 259-2113.  Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours.  The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual.  You will receive a reply during normal business hours.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.  In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.


Letter from Devin Bayles Hancock About Potential Land Grab From The Federal Government

This letter is written by Devin Bayles Hancock, Native and Devoted Advocate of San Juan County:

San Juan County, Utah is undergoing a potential land grab from the Federal Government. 1.9 Million acres are at stake of becoming a National Monument. These mountain acres are of the most prime and beautiful land in the country. This land is used for hunting, for grazing, gathering wood, pinion nuts, recreation, as well as traditional spiritual practices. Plain and simple, this land is used for the uncorrupted livelihood of all…close and far!

A few weeks ago, a public meeting with US Interior Secretary Jewell in Bluff, Utah was held. The amount of people bussed in for this occasion was astronomical! Some didn’t speak English, some had no idea where this proposed Bears Ears National Monument was, some were offered college credit for attending, and some even said they were there for the ‘free t-shirt and lunch’. The ‘pro-monument’ busses, shirts, lunches and ‘free trip’ were all donated by a well-funded environmental coalition and a super star who has merely stepped foot in the county!

US Interior Secretary Jewell, heard the testimonies and was also ‘wined and dined’ by this rich lobby, advocating for the Bears Ears Monument. Locals had no chance. We were outnumbered 6-1!

The strange thing is that the Bear’s Ears is the smallest section of land that being named or held hostage by this land grab! The proposed monument would extend from the Southern end of San Juan County, by Mexican Hat, all the way up to the southernmost tip of Dead Horse Point, in North San Juan County, crossing the Colorado River in some locations! 1.9 Million acres!

There are approximately 5.2 million acres in San Juan County, making it the largest county in the State. Currently, the BLM manages about 2.1 million acres (41%), followed by the Navajo Nation who owns about 1.2 million acres (23%), and the National Park Service which currently manages 595,000 acres. The 1.9 million of acres that is in the current proposal also includes private properties that will cease to exist in future years! The Monument would mean ownership of 48% in San Juan County!

What does this mean? Well, we’ve seen first-hand what happened to our neighbors, when the Grand Staircase at Escalante National Monument was designated. People eventually moved!  They no longer had their livelihood! They could no longer feed their families by hunting. They could no longer keep their homes warm by gathering wood. Grazing rights were basically cut in half, eventually dwindling to nothing. They no longer had a place to escape to for fun. The schools basically shut down because there simply were no children. The entire area FAILED!

Now you’re probably wondering what this means to you? Like it, or not, this WILL AFFECT YOU! Trails like the Chicken Corners, Lockhart Canyon, Colorado River Overlook, Elephant Hill and Beef Basin will be snatched up in the Federal land grab. These trails are all major landmarks for the world renowned Moab Jeep Safari. In addition, if this much acreage is stolen by the Federal Government, then what’s next, the LaSal’s?  The Manti LaSal National Forest?  Do you want the southern area of Moab looking like Mesa Verde National Park with almost 550,000 visitors, and no free and very limited access?

We need your help!  Be civil, be smart, be educated, be active, be heard, BEGIN. Be something. Doing nothing does nothing.

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Press Release: Lee, Herbert, Bishop Issue Joint Statement After Bears Ears Hearing

Thursday, July 28, 2016


Lee, Herbert, Bishop Issue Joint Statement After Bears Ears Hearing


BLANDING, UT—Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Gov. Gary Herbert, and Rep. Rob Bishop (UT-01) issued the following statement after today’s Energy and Natural Resources field hearing on the potential Bears Ears monument designation:


“We have listened to the people of San Juan County and the verdict is clear: the people who live near Bears Ears do not want Washington, DC to create a Bears Ears monument. We hope that the current administration will take this opportunity to choose a path of cooperation and consensus, and not let outside interest groups force their preferences on the people that live here.”


“Taking care of their ancestral land – protecting and preserving it for the next generation – isn’t optional for many Native Americans; it’s a sacred duty,” Sen. Lee said. “Take away their access to the land – restrict their stewardship over the earth’s bounty – and it won’t be long before their culture begins to fade away. Yet that’s exactly what the Obama administration is contemplating with the potential national-monument designation of the Bears Ears region.”


“There is a big difference between having something done to us rather than something done with us,” Gov. Herbert said. “A unilateral monument designation forced upon the local community would be incredibly divisive. Fortunately there is a better path forward with the Public Lands Initiative.”


“Having been in San Juan County today, it is more clear than ever to me that the PLI is the will of the people, not a national monument,” said Rep. Bishop. “We are dealing with people’s lives here – and that deserves the careful consideration that the legislative process provides. Mandating a monument with the stroke of a pen will only exacerbate local issues and will chip away at people’s right to control their own destiny.”


Lee chaired today’s hearing with Herbert and Bishop participating as witnesses. Additional witnesses included Chester Johnson, Aneth Chapter of the Navajo Nation; Lewis Singer, Blue Mountain Dine; and Bruce Adams, San Juan County Commissioner. Officials from the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Forest Service, as well as members of the Bears Ears Coalition were invited to today’s hearing, but declined to participate.

Press Contacts

 Emily Long (Lee)


Kirsten Rappleye (Herbert)


Lee Lonsberry (Bishop)


New Head Of Utah Highway Patrol Named

Colonel-Mike-Rapich(Salt Lake City, UT) — The retiring head of the Utah Highway Patrol is passing the reins over to a new colonel. Colonel Michael Rapich was named the new head in a ceremony this morning. Rapich has served in the UHP for nearly 25 years following in the footsteps of his dad who was also a trooper. The Emery County native says he will have some big shoes to fill when Colonel Fuhr leaves.(Photo Courtesy of UHP)

Bureau Of Land Management Publishes Moab Area Development Strategy

BLM(Moab, UT)  —  The federal Bureau of Land Management says its new plan for energy development in the Moab region is environmentally friendly.  In Yesterday’s publication, the BLM offices said the federal government has an environmentally balanced approach for nearly 800-thousand-acres in San Juan and Grand counties to be developed for oil, gas and potash.  Governor Herbert’s office says the degree to which the federal proposal favors protection of the environment makes planning energy development projects in the area economically unrealistic.

Press Release: Interior Releases Blueprint for Responsible Development in Moab

MOAB, Utah— The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Canyon Country District today released a proposed plan designed to guide mineral development in and around Moab, Utah while also protecting important cultural and recreational sites. The Moab Master Leasing Plan and Proposed Resource Management Plan Amendments/ Final Environmental Impact Statement (MLP/FEIS) are the culmination of a significant effort by the BLM and interested members of the public, community stakeholders and other local, state, and federal partners to provide for responsible development and conservation in the area.

“The proposed plan takes a landscape-level approach to balancing the protection of the iconic scenery in and around Moab and access to the rich energy resources found there,” said Secretary Jewell. “As the first Master Leasing Plan in Utah, the collaborative process that led to the proposed plan should serve as a model for how communities can work together to balance development with the protection of world-class environmental, cultural and recreational resources.”

The Moab Master Leasing Plan (MLP) planning area covers nearly 785,000 acres of public lands in Utah’s Grand and San Juan counties. Diverse land uses in the planning area include recreation, oil and gas production, mining, and grazing. The area is also home to the iconic Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, as well as BLM-managed public lands that hold spectacular red rock landscapes and unique geologic features. More than two million visitors recreate in the area each year, benefitting local economies and supporting hundreds of jobs and businesses. The planning area also contains a rich archaeological record of the Ancestral Puebloans who once called it home. The invaluable cultural resources left in the area hold their history and tell the story of the first farmers in the region.

“Balance is essential,” said BLM Director Neil Kornze. “In this plan we make sure that southern Utah’s energy resources can be responsibly accessed while also ensuring that Moab’s recreation economy can continue to flourish.”

The Moab MLP is an example of the success of the oil and gas leasing reform initiative launched by the BLM in 2010 which called for the development of MLPs to provide a framework for determining which areas are appropriate for oil and gas leasing and development. The Moab MLP reflects the balance and benefit of both recreation and the mineral and commodity extraction industry. Diverse recreational activities on BLM-managed lands in Utah provided $460 million in local and national economic benefits in 2014; oil, gas and coal activities on BLM-managed lands in Utah provided $981 million in local and national economic benefits during the same time period.

MLPs were launched by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in May 2010 as part of a sweeping oil and gas leasing reform initiative to address a leasing system that was close to the breaking point with nearly half of all proposed parcels receiving community protests and a substantial proportion resulting in litigation. The plans establish a framework for determining which areas are appropriate for responsible exploration and development of oil and gas resources while protecting the area’s conservation resources. The reforms were designed to encourage stakeholder input early in the planning process, which reduces protests and litigation and provides developers with greater certainty. MLPs also provide direction for resolving resources conflicts, protecting important conservation resources, supporting outdoor recreation and other activities that benefit local communities and public land visitors.

The proposed Moab MLP and associated final environmental impact statement exemplifies the thoughtful planning and intensive analysis that can be achieved through a robust and collaborative process. In crafting the Moab MLP, the BLM brought together a diverse set of stakeholders, including local community members, industry representatives, recreation enthusiasts, tribes and other interested parties from across the country. The BLM also worked closely with the National Park Service, Environmental Protection Agency and other state and local agencies in the planning process. The BLM also solicited public feedback on preliminary alternatives and held public meetings. The proposed plan was developed after careful consideration of the more than 28,000 public comments received.

Copies of the Final EIS are available online ( and will ultimately be available at the

BLM Utah State Office in Salt Lake City, the Canyon Country District Office in Moab, and the Monticello Field Office in Monticello. The Notice of Availability will publish in the Federal Register on July 22, 2016, and will start a 30-day public protest period and 60-day Governor’s consistency review. Additional information and review instructions are in the Dear Reader letter on the website.  Further information is available from MLP Project Manager Brent Northrup, at the BLM Canyon Country District Office, by calling (435) 259-2100.

Fallen Officer’s Son Raises Money To Fit Patrol Cars With Bulletproof Windshields

(Centerville, UT) — The son of a fallen Utah County officer has a project to retrofit law enforcement cruisers with bulletproof windshields. Shae Wride began a foundation to raise funds for the bulletproof windshields after his father, Sergeant Cory Wride died from a gunshot through his vehicle’s windshield two years ago. The glass installed by Centerville’s International Armoring costs around six-thousand dollars per vehicle.

Humane Society Structure Burns To The Ground In Logan

(Logan, UT) — A new 4-H pet training structure in Logan has gone up in smoke. The extension project associated with Utah State contained various devices used by young 4-H members to send their dogs through competitive steps in preparation for dog shows. Jill Romo with the Cache County 4-H Dog Program says they only have around two-weeks to rebuild before the next dog show scheduled at the upcoming Cache County Fair starting August 11th.