“These meetings will provide the public with opportunities to help the BLM identify and evaluate potential reforms to the…program,” the agency said. The tour, which will include six stops, follows a recent publication by the BLM that it will conduct a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) before a formal, comprehensive review.
“As we begin this review, we are looking forward to hearing from the public about a wide range of issues about the federal coal program,” BLM Director Neil Kornze said. “The information we gather will help shape future decisions about this public.
“The BLM is particularly interested in gathering public input on the issues and policies that should be outlined in the PEIS, including topics such as whether Americans are receiving a fair return for federal coal, how market conditions affect coal, how federal coal affects the environment, and how these and other factors impact coal-dependent communities.”
The meetings will kick off May 17 in Casper, Wyoming. Other gatherings include Salt Lake City, Utah (May 19); Knoxville, Tennessee (May 26); Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (June 16); and Grand Junction, Colorado (June 23). A June date is still being determined for a sixth meeting in Seattle, Washington.
All meetings are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. local time. The meetings in Casper, Seattle and Pittsburgh will be live-streamed at www.blm.gov/live, and all six meetings will have a listen-only audio link via telephone.
The BLM will accept written comments until July 23. It is anticipating the release of its PEIS interim report by the end of this year.