Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) recently called for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to extend the public review period for the proposed Regional Management Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement (RMP/EIS) for her state’s Eastern Interior Planning Area.
“At more than 819,000 words, the proposed plan is roughly 40 percent longer than the epic novel 'War and Peace' —not to
mention, far more technical and complex,” Murkowski said in a letter to BLM
Director Neil Kornze. “Even if the average Alaskan set aside time to pore over
10 pages every day of the week, it would still take six full months to read the
proposed plan in its entirety.”
BLM gave Alaskans only 30 days to review and challenge land-use restrictions within the agencys' proposed management plan,
which encompasses 6.5 million acres in eastern interior Alaska. BLM wants to close 74 percent of those acres to mineral leasing for mining and has proposed restricting 1,022,000 acres as
new Areas of Critical Environmental Concern.
In addition to the length of the document, Murkowski also said the short review period and timing of it release are not convenient for interested Alaskans, many of whom are currently busy with mining, fishing and hunting seasons. To remedy the situation, Murkowski proposes expanding the 30-day period to 120 days.
“Rather than subverting Alaskans’ rights to participate in the land-management process and understand how regulatory decisions will impact us...I urge BLM to extend the protest period to 120 days in total and establish a supplemental protest period during October," Murkowski said.