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BLM Segregates 600,000 Acres While Navy Studies Extension, Expansion
RENO, Nevada – The U.S. Navy has applied to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to continue to use the site of the Fallon Range Training Complex and to expand it to include more than 600,000 acres of additional public land. As a result of the Navy’s withdrawal application, the BLM has segregated the proposed expansion area from appropriation under the public land laws. The two- year segregation is obligatory while the Navy prepares an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on its expansion and extension proposals for the Fallon site about 65 miles east of Reno.
The Navy published a Federal Register notice on August 26 stating that it would conduct the EIS on both renewing the existing public land withdrawal, which covers 202,859 acres, and the withdrawal and reservation for military use of another 604,789 acres of public land to expand the existing range. The Navy’s authorization to use its existing acreage expires in 2021. Based on the environmental analysis, the Secretary of the Interior will make a recommendation to Congress on the proposed withdrawals. However, Congress, not the Secretary, will make the final decision on both the requested extension and proposed expansion.
As a first step in the EIS process, the Navy will hold seven public meetings on the proposed extension and expansion of the Fallon Range Training Complex. The BLM, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will participate as cooperating agencies in the preparation of the EIS. During the EIS, the Navy will consider existing uses of the lands. For instance, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manage some of the lands. In addition, the Pony Express National Historic Trail, managed by the BLM and the National Park Service, runs through both the existing and proposed expansion areas. An expanded Fallon Range Training Complex would also overlap with portions of the Stillwater Range Wilderness Study Area (WSA), the Job Peak WSA, and the Clan Alpine Mountains WSA, which are all managed by the BLM. The U.S. Navy expansion would also overlap sage grouse habitat, the current Vegas to Reno Off-Highway Race course, numerous right-of-way corridors, and several grazing allotments. Current authorized uses of the lands can continue during the segregation.
The two-year segregation removes the expansion lands from all forms of appropriation under the public land laws, including the mining laws, the mineral leasing laws, and the geothermal leasing laws. Valid existing rights at the time of the segregation will be honored. The action is require under section 204(b)(1) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. Much of the existing Fallon Range footprint is already withdrawn from these laws.
While the Navy will accept comments on its EIS, the BLM will accept comments on the requested withdrawal actions through the following methods:
• Fax: (775) 885-6147
• Mail: BLM Carson City District, Attn: NAS Fallon FRTC, 5665 Morgan Mill Road, Carson City, NV 89701
The following is a schedule of the Navy’s public meetings on the proposed withdrawals:
• Fallon Convention Center, Fallon, 3-7 p.m. October 3;
• Pershing County Community Center, Lovelock, 11a.m.-1 p.m. October 4;
• Evelyn Mount Northeast Community Center, Reno, 5-7 p.m. October 4;
• Emma Nevada Town Hall, Austin, 5-7 p.m. October 5;
• Eureka Elementary School, Eureka, 5-7p.m. October 6;
• Hawthorne Convention Center, Hawthorne, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. October 7; and
• Gabbs School Gymnasium, Gabbs, 5-7 p.m. October 7.
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