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Old 03-19-2004, 02:16 AM   #1
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BLM seeks comments

Thursday March 18, 2004
BLM seeks comment from groups on land plans Agency working with local, state and tribal partners in planning
RIDGECREST - Local communities, states and tribes all have a tremendous state in the land management issues that confront the Bureau of Land Management, according to BLM Director Kathleen Clarke.

"We want to ensure that they also have a place at the table when these issues are addressed, and a strong voice in the planning decisions that are made," said Clarke.

BLM is moving to accomplish this by proposing to grant "Cooperating Agencies" status to the standing local, state, tribal and federal entities of government.

Cooperating Agency status is authorized under the National Environmental Policy Act as a tool to permit these agencies to participate in a range of activities that federal agencies such as BLM carry out to comply with environmental analysis and documentation requirements under DE.

While the BLM has utilized and actively encouraged its partners and stakeholders to participate as Cooperating Agencies in planning and DE activities, the practice has never before been specifically recognized in the BLM's regulations.

"The changes we are proposing will affirm that the lands entrusted to our care belong to the public and that they should be managed in partnership with the public to serve public needs and interests," Clarke said.

She went on to say that the cooperating agency relationship outlined in the revised planning regulations will ensure that the planning process incorporates local knowledge of economic, social and political conditions and addresses local interests and values.
"Cooperating Agency status can give us broader public participation in resource management decisions and, ultimately, more effective solutions," said Clarke. "It can be an important tool in promoting the principle of shared community stewardship of the public lands."
Copyright 2004The Daily Independent.


http://www.ridgecrestca.com/articles...ews/news02.txt
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