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Simplot land exchange proposal goes to the public

Blackrock land exchange blm

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK)-A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) addressing a proposed land exchange with the J.R. Simplot Company has been released by the Bureau of Land Management.

The Pocatello Field Office said the exchange involves 719 acres of federal land adjacent to Simplot's Don Plant, and 667 acres of non-federal land near the Chinese Peak-Blackrock Canyon area.

The exchange would move crucial mule deer winter range under improved resource management and secure permanent public acces to a popular, high-yuse recreation are. The DEIS identified some key issues, including air quality, cultural resources, fish and wildlife, hazardous and solid wastes, tribal treaty rights and some other complicated social issues.

BLM has now developed several alternatives, including a "no action" alternative, which are analyzed in the DEIS. It has determined that the exchange would increase public access by maintaining permanent access to portions of the Chinese Peak-Blackrock Canyon trail system.

"The phosphate industry and recreation are both important to southeast Idaho," said BLM Idaho Falls District Manager Mary D'Aversa. "We encourage the public to take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about how this proposed land exchange will impact both by reading the documents, attending public meetings, and providing input."

A 45-day public comment period began Friday with publication of the draft EIS in the Federal Register. It will conclude on February 4, 2020.

Two public meetings have been set. One is scheduled from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., January 7 at the Fort Hall Hotel and Event Center. The second is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., January 8 at the Pocatello BLM Field Office.

Written comments should be submitted by February 4.

You may find additional information here.

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