POCATELLO — Shoshone-Bannock Tribal officials encourage all tribal members and residents of the Fort Hall community to participate in the Blackrock Land Exchange Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) review process.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Pocatello Field Office is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to address the J.R. Simplot Company’s request to exchange 719 acres of public land adjacent to Simplot’s Don Plant, for 667 acres of private land near the Chinese Peak-Blackrock Canyon area.
The BLM has scheduled two public meetings for the following dates: June 12 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel and June 13 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the BLM Field Office in Pocatello.
Tribal Policy Analyst Yvette Tuell said it is critical all tribal and community members voice their concerns about expanding environmental contamination on the Portneuf River. Comments must be submitted by July 5.
The EIS process provides a formal opportunity for public engagement in the land exchange process. This announcement opens a 45-day scoping period during which the BLM will gather public comments on the proposal and identify issues to be analyzed in the EIS.
In 2018, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes has successfully fought against two proposed congressional bills (H.R.4448/S.2140) proposed by Simplot to Congress to circumvent the NEPA process by advocating for a Congressional approval of the land exchange. Simplot is seeking to utilize the shorter environmental review process to conduct a full blown EIS in only one year.
Issues of concern include:
Both land parcels are located within the original boundaries of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation
Federal land exchange of 719 acres of BLM lands for 667 acres of private lands, losing 52 acres for public use.
Expansion of the Eastern Michaud Flats Superfund Site to construct cooling ponds and increasing storage capacity of the phosphogypsum waste onto these 719 acres.
Contamination will continue to flow onto the Reservation and throughout the local communities. With the new efforts focused on expediting the environmental review process, one year, a full analyses cannot be completed to document and develop mitigation for the environmental impacts
Tuell said don’t be misled by recent biased Pocatello BLM Office claims that say “Agency could acquire 667 acres of crucial mule deer winter range and secure permanent public access at popular recreation area.” According to the Idaho Fish & Game, Howard Mountain has many trophy bucks in the area as well as other game.
Of particular concern is the Trump Administration’s expedited environmental review process that would skew the review process to favor industry, and that would constrains a true and accurate environmental analyses.
• Submit your written comments directly at the public scoping meetings;
• Submit your comments electronically via the E-Planning site: https://go.usa.gov/xEUuc
• Mail comments to BLM Pocatello Field Office at the address above with Attention: Blackrock Land Exchange
For more information contact Bryce Anderson, BLM Pocatello Project Manager, at 208-478-6353 or email@example.com, or see the Blackrock Land Exchange BLM E-Planning site above.