BLM extends submission deadline, accepts electronic Roan comments
The federal government has extended a public comment deadline related to the Roan Plateau following criticism that it wasn’t accepting electronic submittals.The Bureau of Land Management said Monday that the comment period associated with about 21,000 acres of proposed areas of critical environmental concern (ACECs) would be extended for another two weeks.The decision follows criticism by Pete Kolbenschlag, who is part of the Save Roan Plateau campaign, that the BLM was accepting only written comments sent by U.S. mail or delivered in person to the BLM’s Glenwood Springs office.The BLM initially rejected Kolbenschlag’s request to change its policy, saying accepting comments submitted via e-mail or a Web site would have added time and expense to the process.The comment deadline was to have expired Friday. Based on its reconsideration of Kolbenschlag’s request, comments will continue to be accepted for 14 days following the publication of the Federal Register Notice announcing the extended comment period. That publication is expected to occur by Aug. 20. “We have been committed to meaningful public involvement since we began the planning effort for the Roan Plateau seven years ago,” Glenwood Springs field manager Jamie Connell said in a prepared statement Monday. “We’re reopening the public comment period on the ACECs for another 14 days to ensure that those wishing to submit comments electronically have that opportunity.”The ACECs public comment period is resulting from a technicality related to the BLM’s planning process for the Roan Plateau. In June, the agency issued a final decision for the plateau’s management, including a controversial plan to allow oil and gas drilling to occur on the plateau top.However, that decision currently applies to a little more than 50,000 acres. The BLM agreed with a protest contending that a Federal Register Notice regarding its draft Roan plan didn’t contain enough detail about the proposed ACECs, and it decided to provide 60 days for additional comment.Information on how to submit electronic comments on the proposed ACEC designations will be made available at http://www.blm.gov/ rmp/co/roanplateau/comments.htm. Comments also will be continued by regular mail and should be sent to the Bureau of Land Management, Glenwood Springs Field Office, 50629 Highway 6, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601.
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