Additional public meetings planned for proposed mineral withdrawal

Release Date: Jun 9, 2017  

Contact(s): Kristina Reichenbach


 

Additional public meetings planned for proposed mineral withdrawal

 

DULUTH, MN. June 9, 2017 – The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) invite the public to provide comments regarding the proposed 20-year withdrawal of federal minerals from national forest system lands on the Superior National Forest within the Rainy River Watershed. Public comments received during project scoping will inform development of an environmental impact statement (EIS) to study the proposed mineral withdrawal.

Requests for public comments began with the January 13, 2017 publication in the Federal Register of the Forest Service’s notice of intent to prepare an EIS. A public meeting was held on March 16, 2017 in Duluth, MN. Due to substantial public interest and the complexity of the proposal, the Forest Service extended the 90-day project scoping period for an additional 120 days to allow more time for public input and additional public meetings.

In addition to commenting via email and U.S. Mail or courier, the following two public meetings will provide an opportunity for attendees to submit verbal comments:

 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Saint Paul River Centre   (Exhibit Hall A)

175 West Kellogg Blvd. Suite 501

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Virginia High School (Auditorium)

411 S 5th Ave.

Virginia, Minnesota

Both sessions will begin at 5 p.m. and conclude at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 4:30 p.m.

Written comments may be submitted via U.S. Mail or courier to the Superior National Forest, ATT: Minerals Withdrawal, 8901 Grand Ave. Place, Duluth, MN 55808. Written comments may also be sent via email to: comments-eastern-superior@fs.fed.us or via fax to 218-626-4398. Comments must be received by midnight CDT, August 11, 2017.

The proposed action is based on the January 5, 2017 Forest Service application to the BLM proposing a 20-year mineral withdrawal of 234,328 acres of national forest system lands from disposition under United States mineral and geothermal leasing laws. The proposed withdrawal area is adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and to the Mining Protection Area, and is located within the Rainy River watershed on the Superior National Forest.

The proposed mineral withdrawal includes only federally-owned hardrock minerals. It does not affect valid existing mineral rights, private lands, private mineral estates, private fractional minerals interests, or sand, gravel or stone quarries. Private and State mineral interests may continue to pursue mineral exploration and development within the area during the 20-year term.

The Forest Service is the lead agency for development of the EIS analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act. The BLM will participate in the development of the EIS as a cooperating agency. The EIS will provide information that the BLM is required to present to the Secretary of the Interior who will make the final decision on the withdrawal proposal. If the withdrawal is approved, the EIS may be used to provide supporting analysis if the Forest Service decides to amend the Superior National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan. A copy of the notice of intent, application, map of the proposed withdrawal, and guidance for commenting are posted on the Superior National Forest website at https://go.usa.gov/xNmJJ .

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