The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Resource Management Plan (RMP) is a very formalized process of deciding what activities may or not take place on public lands for a specific parcel or parcels of publicly owned land that the BLM manages.
Most often a RMP takes several years to develop and is done when an existing plan is no longer thought to be adequate to be useful in detailing the activities allowed on a parcel of BLM land.
The RMP for the Pio Puerco parcels that include the 3,000 acres just north of Placitas has been undergoing the RMP process for about 12 years now. A very extraordinary length of time for this process. It seems that our 3,000 acres is the piece of the plan that has caused the length of the RMP to expand.
More than 10,000 comments were submitted by the public concerning the 3,000 acres abutting our community. That is thousands more comments than usually received. All comments received must be evaluated and plugged into several BLM categories from recreational to mining and fracking uses so that the experts at the BLM can assess all possible uses and decide on how to use the land to both provide some income to the Interior Department and satisfy the demands of the public.
We were told to expect the RMP draft plan fall 2020, but it has not yet happened. There is another public comment period following the release of the draft plan and then the Environmental studies begin to verify that any use the BLM plans to make of the parcels resources are environmentally sound before the plan is put into place.
U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján have introduced the Buffalo Tract Protection Act which would withdraw four parcels of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in southern Sandoval County, including the Buffalo Tract and the Crest of Montezuma, from any mineral development, including gravel mining. The legislation previously passed by a voice vote in a key legislative business meeting in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in December of 2019.
“The Crest of Montezuma and the Buffalo Tract are home to important ecosystems and have been used by communities along the Rio Grande Valley for centuries,” said Heinrich. “Numerous residents have shared their concerns with me about the future of these lands and the potential damage that would result from gravel mining. Mineral development would negatively impact public health, quality of life, and water supplies. I look forward to maintaining the momentum of this legislation and working with the community to see it cross the finish line in the 117th Congress.”