By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: April 7, 2022

(MALTA, Mont.) – An Environmental Assessment analyzing a proposed continued withdrawal of lands at the Zortman-Landusky Mining Reclamation Area in Phillips County, Montana, has been released by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for a 30-day public review and comment period.

The proposed 20-year withdrawal of this reclamation area would prevent new mining activities and disturbance of the public lands, as well as provide time to assess and monitor the effectiveness of ongoing reclamation activities. A similar 20-year withdrawal expired in October 2020.

“The comments we received during public scoping were very helpful,” said Theresa Hanley, BLM Acting Montana/Dakotas State Director Theresa Hanley. “They were directly responsible for the development of the range of alternatives we analyzed in this Environmental Assessment.”

The environmental assessment analyzes three alternatives. One alternative proposes the withdrawal of about 2,600 acres that had been previously designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern. A second alternative analyses a larger area similar to the footprint of the previous 20-year withdrawal. Both alternatives analyze withdrawal of the federal mineral estate from location and entry under the United States Mining Law for a period of 20 years and subject to valid existing rights. The third alternative is the required No Action alternative.

The Environmental Assessment and a link to provide electronic comments is available by visiting the BLM’s ePlanning website at Search using the National Environmental Policy Act number: DOI-BLM-MT-L010-2021-0003-EA. Public comments may also be submitted via the U.S. Postal Service addressed to: BLM Malta Field Office; Re: Z-L Withdrawal; 501 South 2nd Street East; Malta, MT 59538. The public comment period remains open from April 4 through May 3, 2022. Public comments submitted may be subject to Freedom of Information Act requests. Please, do not include in your comments personally identifiable information you do not want to be made public.

A virtual public meeting on Zoom starts at 2 p.m. Mountain Time on Tuesday, April 19, 2022 – Meeting ID: 161 186 8055 and passcode: 554233.

Once comments are reviewed, the BLM will send a letter to the Secretary of the Interior recommending the withdrawal under a Public Land Order.

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