County Commissioner Varlin Higbee recommended some additions be made to a scoping comment letter the commission board is sending to the BLM office in Caliente.
The letter is in support of the comments received recently in some of the scoping meetings the BLM has been holding regarding the Basin and Range Monument Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement.
In reviewing the comments, County Planning Director Cory Lytle said there were basically 14 points in comments made that focused a lot on existing uses. He recommended, “Don’t manage special for wild horses, treat them the same as any others, don’t manager special for visual resources, grazing, transportation, travel management, and gravel pits.”
He said because the monument will eventually become open to the public, the support letter asks that all roads be left open, and for campers, even travel trailers be allowed to enter.
In summing up, Lytle noted he is asking the BLM, after taking into consideration the comments, and others yet to come, regarding the management plan and environmental impact statement, “and don’t make it a short-sighted designation.”
Higbee said he noticed the letter did not include thoughts “on the impact to the county on natural resources and the anticipated impacts the monument could possibly have to the tax base. Down the road, all of sudden you do away with this or that, now you have revenue impacts on the tax base.”
Higbee said if possible impacts in the reduction in revenue to the existing grazing allotments within the boundaries of the monument are not well understood, “without those grazing allotments, your private property is worthless.”
Lytle said he would create a new point of concern covering “economic impact analysis” in the support letter. Other concerns in this category, he said, would include mineral rights, mineral extraction, water, rights of way, corridors, etc.”
Commissioners approved the scoping comment letter and directed Lytle to make the necessary changes to the comments.