Most Activities on BLM- Managed lands to be Suspended due to Federal Government Shutdown
As a result of the Federal government shutdown, essentially all services provided by the Bureau of Land Management will be suspended, with the exception of law enforcement and emergency response functions. Approximately 4,000 recreation facilities, including visitor centers, facilities, campgrounds, boat ramps and other recreation sites will be closed.
With an estimated $4.8 billion in revenues in 2012, the BLM nationally returns more than four dollars for every budget dollar it receives. The BLM manages 245 million acres – more than any of the nation’s major natural resource agencies, with the smallest budget, the fewest employees, and the lowest cost.
While the BLM will maintain the minimum staffing levels required to ensure continued safe management of the nation’s energy resources, issuing new oil and gas leases and permits will cease. Limited work will continue to ensure safe operations of domestic energy supplies, including inspection and enforcement activities for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and 114 oil and gas wells on federal land in Alaska.
Recreation activities on BLM-managed lands will be similarly impacted. Public lands receive more than 57 million visitors every year, contributing more than $7 billion to local economies. In FY2012, Alaska received nearly 700,000 visitors contributing more than $51 million to local economies.
In Alaska, BLM closures include the Campbell Creek Science Center and Campbell Tract in Anchorage, and campgrounds on the Dalton, Steese, Taylor, Denali, Richardson, and Nome-Taylor Highways.
The BLM-Alaska will furlough most of its approximately 674 employees during the funding lapse, not including 38 employees who support the operations of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System who are exempt from furlough. After the initial shutdown procedures are completed, the BLM will maintain a total of 18 excepted employees with all employees subject to being on call.
Suspended activities and services will include:
· non-emergency Abandoned Mine Land and hazardous-materials mitigation
· processing of oil and gas drilling permits
· processing of lease sales, permits and other non-emergency authorizations of onshore oil
and gas, coal and other minerals
· permits and approvals for renewable energy and other rights-of -way issuances
· Endangered Species Act and cultural clearances
· range management restoration
· wild horse and burro adoptions
· sand and gravel permits
· timber sales
· work on resource management plans, including those driven by court deadlines
Suspended activities will resume once Congress approves a budget for Fiscal Year 2014.
Because the BLM website will not be maintained for the duration of the shutdown, the BLM will be re-directing to Interior’s site, where additional information will be available at www.DOI.gov/shutdown as well as at OPM.gov.
Posted: October 3, 2013