[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 46 (Friday, March 8, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 15041-15043]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-05294]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

[LLMTC00000.L11100000.DP0000.LXSISGST0000]


Notice of Availability of the Draft Miles City Resource 
Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, MT

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Availability.

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SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 
1976, as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has prepared a 
draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) revision and draft Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS) for the Miles City Field Office and by this 
notice is announcing the opening of the comment period. The RMP/EIS 
revision will replace the Powder River and Big Dry RMPs.

DATES: To ensure that comments will be considered, the BLM must receive 
written comments on the draft RMP/EIS within 90 days following the date 
the Environmental Protection Agency publishes the notice of the draft 
RMP/EIS in the Federal Register. The BLM will announce future meetings 
or hearings and any other public participation activities at least 15 
days in advance through public notices, media releases, and/or 
mailings.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the Miles City draft RMP/
EIS by any of the following methods:
     Email: BLM_MT_MCFO_RMP@blm.gov.
     Fax: 406-233-3650.
     Mail: ``MCFO RMP Comments,'' 111 Garryowen Road, Miles 
City, MT 59301.
     Hand-delivery: Miles City Field Office, 111 Garryowen 
Road, Miles City, Montana.
    Whenever possible, please reference the page or section in the 
draft RMP/EIS to which the comment applies.
    Copies of the Miles City draft RMP/EIS are available in the Miles 
City Field Office at the above address or may be viewed at: http://www.blm.gov/mt/st/en/fo/miles_city_field_office/rmp.html. A limited 
number of hard copies are available upon request while supplies last. 
Your name and return mailing address must be included in your written 
and electronic messages.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Bloom, Project Manager, BLM, 
telephone 406-233-2800; address Miles City Field Office, 111 Garryowen 
Road, Miles City, MT; email BLM_MT_MCFO_RMP@blm.gov. Persons who use 
a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the above 
individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours 
a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above 
individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Public land management within the planning 
area is currently guided by the Big Dry RMP and the Powder River RMP, 
which were completed in 1996 and 1985, respectively.
    The intent of the planning process is to analyze and update public 
land and resource management objectives within the planning area. The 
planning area includes all of the BLM-administered surface (2,759,155 
acres) and mineral estate (11,032,026 acres) managed by the Miles City 
Field Office in Carter, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, 
McCone, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sheridan, 
Treasure, and Wibaux counties and portions of Big Horn and Valley 
counties in Montana.
    Public scoping in preparation of the draft RMP/EIS was initiated in 
February

[[Page 15042]]

2005. Newsletters to update the public on the draft RMP/EIS were issued 
from 2006-2010. On December 9, 2011, the BLM issued a Notice of Intent 
in the Federal Register to plan for the Greater Sage-Grouse, which 
included the two RMPs being revised--Big Dry and Powder River. Several 
meetings have been held with counties, cooperating agencies and other 
collaborators to prepare the draft RMP/EIS. Issues include the 
management of vegetation communities, mineral development, recreation 
and access, and special status species, such as the Greater Sage-
Grouse. An updated inventory of lands with wilderness characteristics 
was completed and the results were analyzed in the draft RMP/EIS.
    Five alternative management scenarios present a range of management 
actions to address the issues: Alternative A is existing management (No 
Action); Alternative B emphasizes soil, water, air, vegetation, 
wildlife, and cultural resource protection; Alternative C emphasizes 
local economies; Alternative D encourages development while maintaining 
existing land uses; and Alternative E is the BLM's Preferred 
Alternative. The draft RMP/EIS discloses the environmental consequences 
of each alternative. Identification of a Preferred Alternative does not 
represent the final agency decision. The BLM encourages public comment 
on all alternatives and management actions described in the draft RMP/
EIS.
    Consistent with BLM Washington Office Instruction Memorandum No. 
2010-0117, Oil and Gas Leasing Reform-Land Use Planning and Lease 
Parcel Reviews, the planning area was evaluated to determine if it 
contained areas meeting the criteria to become proposed master leasing 
plan (MLP) areas. One area in Carter County has been proposed as an 
MLP. The proposed Carter MLP is approximately 393,000 acres in size and 
contains 139,000 acres of BLM-administered surface; 229,000 acres of 
private land; and 25,000 acres of state land. The BLM administers 
approximately 282,500 acres of oil and gas estate with 3,678 acres 
currently leased in the area. The draft RMP/EIS considers and analyzes 
alternative management for the proposed MLP area.
    Pursuant to 43 CFR 1610.7-2(b), this notice announces the public 
comment period on proposed areas of critical environmental concern 
(ACECs). The draft RMP/EIS evaluate 26 ACEC nominations. The BLM 
proposes designation and special management for 21 areas. Five areas 
that were evaluated are not proposed for ACEC designation, including 
areas identified as Greater Sage-Grouse protection priority areas. The 
21 areas proposed for designation and the resource use limitations 
which would occur if formally designated are described below. All 
resource use limitations described below are subject to valid existing 
rights.
     The Cedar Creek Battlefield (1,022 public surface acres) 
would be designated an ACEC. This significant battlefield would be 
managed to enhance and protect cultural resources. Management actions 
proposed for this area are: Mineral material sales and permits would be 
closed, oil and gas leasing would be allowed with a no surface 
occupancy (NSO) stipulation, geophysical exploration would be closed, 
off-highway vehicle (OHV) use would be limited to existing roads and 
trails, the area would be managed as a right-of-way (ROW) avoidance 
area, livestock grazing would be allowed, and management would be per 
visual resource management (VRM) Class II.
     Flat Creek (547 acres) and Powderville (9,518 acres) areas 
would also be designated ACECs. Management actions proposed for these 
significant paleontological areas are: mineral material sales and 
permits would be closed, oil and gas leasing would be allowed with an 
NSO stipulation, geophysical exploration would be allowed, OHV use 
would be limited to existing roads and trails, the area would be 
managed as a ROW avoidance area, and livestock grazing would be 
allowed. The Powderville area would be managed per VRM Classes II and 
III, and the Flat Creek area would be managed per VRM Classes III and 
IV.
     The Long Medicine Wheel (179 acres) and Powers-Yonkee (40 
acres) areas would be designated ACECs. Management actions proposed for 
these significant cultural resource sites are: Mineral material sales 
and permits would be closed, oil and gas leasing would be allowed with 
an NSO stipulation, geophysical exploration would not be allowed, OHV 
use would be closed, ROWs would be excluded, livestock grazing would be 
allowed, and management would be per VRM Class II.
     The Walstein area (2,054 acres) would be designated an 
ACEC. Management actions proposed for this significant cultural and 
paleontological area are: Mineral material sales and permits would be 
closed, oil and gas leasing would be allowed with an NSO stipulation, 
geophysical exploration would not be allowed within the significant 
cultural resource sites within the ACEC, OHV use would be closed, the 
area would be managed as a ROW avoidance area, livestock grazing would 
be allowed, and management would be per VRM Class II.
     The Battle Butte Battlefield ACEC would increase in size 
from 121 acres to 320 acres and continue to be designated and managed 
as an ACEC. Management actions proposed for this significant cultural 
resource site are: Mineral material sales and permits would be closed, 
oil and gas leasing would be allowed with an NSO stipulation, 
geophysical exploration would not be allowed, ROWs would be excluded, 
livestock grazing would be allowed, and management would be per VRM 
Class II.
     Reynolds Battlefield would increase in size from 324 acres 
to 922 acres and continue to be designated and managed as an ACEC. 
Management actions proposed for this significant cultural resource site 
are: Mineral material sales and permits would be closed, oil and gas 
leasing would be allowed with an NSO stipulation, geophysical 
exploration would not be allowed, the area would be managed as a ROW 
avoidance area, livestock grazing would be allowed, and management 
would be per VRM Class II.
     The Big Sheep Mountain ACEC (363 acres) would continue to 
be designated and managed as an ACEC. Management actions proposed for 
this significant cultural resource site are: Mineral material sales and 
permits would be closed, oil and gas leasing would be allowed with an 
NSO stipulation, geophysical exploration would not be allowed, 
geothermal leasing would be closed, OHV use would be limited to 
existing roads and trails, the area would be managed as a ROW avoidance 
area, livestock grazing would be allowed, and management would be per 
VRM Class II.
     The Hoe ACEC (147 acres) would continue to be designated 
and managed as an ACEC. Management actions proposed for this 
significant cultural resource site are: Mineral material sales and 
permits would be closed, oil and gas leasing would be allowed with an 
NSO stipulation, geophysical exploration would not be allowed, OHV use 
would be limited to existing roads and trails, the area would be 
managed as a ROW avoidance area, geothermal leasing would be closed, 19 
acres of the ACEC would be closed to livestock grazing, and management 
would be per VRM Class II.
     The Jordan Bison Kill ACEC (160 acres) would continue to 
be managed as an ACEC. Management actions proposed for this significant 
cultural resource site are: Mineral material sales and permits would be 
closed, oil and gas leasing would be allowed with an NSO stipulation, 
geophysical exploration

[[Page 15043]]

would not be allowed, OHV use would be limited to existing roads and 
trails, the area would be managed as a ROW avoidance area, geothermal 
leasing would not be allowed, livestock grazing would be allowed, and 
management would be per VRM Class II.
     The Powder River Depot ACEC (1,401 acres) would continue 
to be managed and designated as an ACEC. Management actions proposed 
for this significant cultural resource site are: Mineral material sales 
and permits would be closed, oil and gas leasing would be allowed with 
an NSO stipulation, geophysical exploration would not be allowed, OHV 
use would be limited to existing roads and trails, the area would be 
managed as a ROW avoidance area, geothermal leasing would be closed, 
livestock grazing would be excluded on 219 acres of the ACEC, and 
management would be per VRM Classes I (Terry Badlands Wilderness Study 
Area overlap) and II (remainder of the ACEC).
     The Seline ACEC (80 acres) would continue to be designated 
and managed as an ACEC. Management actions proposed for this 
significant cultural resource site are: Mineral material sales and 
permits would be closed, oil and gas leasing would be allowed with an 
NSO stipulation, geophysical exploration would not be allowed, OHV use 
would be limited to existing roads and trails, the area would be 
managed as a ROW avoidance area, geothermal leasing would be closed, 
livestock grazing would be allowed, and management would be per VRM 
Class II.
     The Smoky Butte ACEC (80 acres) would continue to be 
designated and managed as an ACEC. Management actions proposed for this 
significant geologic area are: Mineral material sales and permits would 
be closed, oil and gas leasing would be allowed with an NSO 
stipulation, geophysical exploration would be allowed, OHV use would be 
closed, the area would be managed as a ROW avoidance area, livestock 
grazing would be allowed, and management would be per VRM Class III.
     The Finger Buttes ACEC (1,520 acres) would continue to be 
designated and managed as an ACEC. Management actions proposed for this 
significant scenic area are: Mineral material sales and permits would 
be closed, oil and gas leasing would be allowed with an NSO 
stipulation, geophysical exploration would not be allowed, OHV use 
would be limited to existing roads and trails, the area would be 
managed as a ROW avoidance area, geothermal leasing would be closed, 
and management would be per VRM Class II.
     The Ash Creek Divide (7,921 acres), Bug Creek (3,837 
acres), Hell Creek (19,373 acres), and Sand Arroyo (9,052 acres) ACECs 
would continue to be designated and managed as ACECs. Management 
actions proposed for these significant paleontological areas are: 
Mineral material sales and permits would be closed, oil and gas leasing 
would be allowed with an NSO stipulation, geophysical exploration would 
be allowed, OHV use would be limited to existing roads and trails, ROWs 
would be allowed, geothermal leasing would be closed, livestock grazing 
would be allowed, and management would be per VRM Classes II through 
IV.
     The Black-footed Ferret Reintroduction ACEC (11,221 acres) 
would continue to be designated and managed as an ACEC. Management 
actions proposed for this significant habitat are: Mineral material 
sales and permits would be closed, oil and gas leasing would be allowed 
with a controlled surface use stipulation, geophysical exploration 
would be allowed, OHV use would be limited to existing roads and 
trails, the area would be managed as a ROW avoidance area, livestock 
grazing would be allowed, and management would be per VRM Classes I 
(overlap with Terry Badlands WSA), II, III, and IV.
     The Piping Plover ACEC (15 acres) would continue to be 
designated and managed as an ACEC. Management actions proposed for this 
significant habitat are: Mineral material sales and permits would be 
closed, oil and gas leasing would be allowed with an NSO stipulation, 
geophysical exploration would not be allowed, OHV use would be limited 
to existing roads and trails, the area would be managed as a ROW 
avoidance area, geothermal leasing would not be allowed, livestock 
grazing would not be allowed from May 1 through July 15 of each year, 
and management would be per VRM Class II.
     The Yonkee site (40 acres) would be designated an ACEC. 
This significant cultural resource site would be managed to enhance and 
protect cultural resources. Management actions proposed for this area 
are: Mineral material sales and permits would be closed, oil and gas 
leasing would be allowed with an NSO stipulation, geophysical 
exploration would not be allowed, OHV use would be closed, ROWs would 
be excluded, livestock grazing would be allowed, and management would 
be per VRM Class II.
    Following the close of the public review and comment period on this 
draft RMP/EIS, public comments will be used to prepare the BLM Miles 
City Proposed RMP and final EIS. The BLM will respond to each 
substantive comment received during the draft RMP/EIS review period by 
making appropriate revisions to the document or by explaining why a 
comment did not warrant a change. After comments have been considered 
and the draft RMP/EIS has incorporated all potential revisions to 
develop the proposed RMP and final EIS, a notice of the availability 
for the Proposed RMP and final EIS will be published in the Federal 
Register.
    Please note that public comments and information submitted 
including names, street addresses, and email addresses of persons who 
submit comments will be available for public review and disclosure at 
the above address during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), 
Monday through Friday, except holidays.
    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

    Authority:  40 CFR 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10, 43 CFR 1610.2.

Jamie E. Connell,
State Director.
[FR Doc. 2013-05294 Filed 3-7-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-DN-P