Here the the news release from the BLM.

The public lands managed by the BLM in southeast Idaho are relatively scattered. The major problem is overgrazing by livestock (coupled with almost no enforcement of the grazing regulations). The BLM staff has been cowed into submission. A lot of them want to do a good job (I have had some in my classes and I know others), but ranchers are calling the shots. Added later. You can download the RMP (resource management plan) here.

Regarding this RMP “KT” has the following to say, and my guess this plan will become seriously controversial in SE Idaho once folks get wind of what is in it. Ralph Maughan

By KT.

Unfortunately, in the 70s and 80s the possibility of Oil and Gas was very often used by BLM to throw out areas for consideration as Wilderness Study Areas.

The Caribou Forest proposal is just the tip of the melting iceberg. Since often, to access Forest lands the shortest route may be across BLM lands – their friendly neighbor BLM is helping Oil and Gas to explode in its new RMP.

Pocatello BLM neighboring the Caribou Forest has just issued a Draft RMP that has alarming right-of-way provisions in the “Preferred Alternative” unlike anything I’ve ever seen before in an agency document.

It specifically states, for energy and nonenergy rights-of-way, that “590,000 acres would be managed as “open” areas, 21,900 acres as avoidance areas, and 1900 acres (3 square miles or so) as exclusion areas.

This greases the skids for run amok energy, oil and gas, and any other development imaginable. This plan would be the basis of management for the next 15 or 20 years! Imagine if a BLM or Forest land use plan in 2006 proposed leaving leaving Open nearly every part of the landscape to OHV use and creation of new roads. Essentially, the wide open right of way provision of the BLM plan allows ENERGY to carve roads virtually anywhere.

Also, this Plan is so pathetic that “livestock grazing was not intially identified as a significant issue”. AH, but then, the Bush BLM decided the needed to Open up more areas to grazing – and increase the land area grazed here. I can only imagine this means cows in sensitive watersheds, or parks, or something.

Plus, it sets the stage for massive taxpayer funded manipulaitn of every sagebrush patch, aspen grove, or forested area – by imposing percentages of “desired vegetation” measurements. This, of course, lays the ground work for burning, spraying, etc. woody vegetation to grow cow food and funding it with federal fire fund dollars. End result will be weed lands. The public needs to tell BLM to recycle the Draft and START OVER.

When last I checked, BLM had not deigned to post this terrible RMP on its Website.

and later KT wrote:

It looks like the Pocatello RMP is indeed on-line now at www.id.blm.gov . Alternative B is the Preferred Action. The best way to skim through key issues is to look at a summary Table, ES-8 that provides info on what the Plan would do.

Folks might want to look at:

ES-33 that decribes “land tenure adjustments”, i. e. disposing of a large amount of public land;

ES-34 that describes the right of way free-for-all to facilitate phosphate, oil and gas, mountain top blasting wind farms, etc.

ES-35 livestock that shows BLM actually increasing AUMs and acres grazed slightly;

ES-25-31 where taxpayers will be engaged in “farming” public lands to meet artificial criteria designed to facilitate BLM killing trees and shrubs

ES-32 where the fire manipulation footprint alone is to be 124, 250 acres.

My understanding from folks who work on issues here is that areas like the Bear River Range and surroundings (Forst and BLM lands)are part of a critical wildlife corridor tying the northern rockies to the southern Rockies. Looks like Pocatello will be busily severing any habitat connectivity that now exists.

 
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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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