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BLM Road closures to our claims

24 May 2019 5:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

As many of our members have seen the red signs closing different roads thru out our claim areas, all of us need to take a pro-active approach to keep and or get back access to those good prospecting areas.  We will be locked out for good if nothing is done. Martin has stepped up and taken this approach and has spent many hours of his time insuring that we all still have a place to prospect. Hear is his latest effort along those lines.

Dear PCSC Members:


I am sharing with you a copy of the BLM protest I authored and filed today in regard to BLM's proposed land use plan amendment (LUPA) and its final supplemental environmental impact statement (FSEIS) for the West Mojave Route Network Project (WMRNP).  The purpose of sharing this protest exemplar (attached to this email in PDF) is to help everyone understand a little better what is involved, the specialized language used and generally how the system works.  Due to the proliferation of lawsuits brought against governmental agencies and the anticipated generation of additional compulsory administrative land use plan amendments and environmental impact statements, it may prove helpful if some of you get familiar with bureaucratic administrative language and the structure of the dance we may have to do in order to preserve our access to some of the last remaining nugget rich areas of the California Desert.


In regard to achieving immediate open access to our Desert Queen Bee claim, I'd say my chance of prevailing at this stage of the review process is slim to none.  But you never know...  Nonetheless, at least BLM will be compelled to read it and then come up with a response.  Depending on the response, further decisions will have to be made.


Martin H. Milas P.O. Box 2290 Yucca Valley, CA 92286

May 23, 2019

BLM Director (210) Attention: Protest Coordinator, WO-210 P.O. Box 71383 Washington, DC 20024-1383

Dear BLM Director:

Adhering to BLM’s “Critical Item Checklist For Filing A Protest” I submit the following critical items:

*The purpose of this letter is to protest BLM’s Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment (LUPA) and Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) for the West Mojave Route Network Project (WMRNP).

*My name is Martin H. Milas.

*My address is P.O. Box 2290, Yucca Valley, CA 92286.

*My telephone number is 626-375-1609.

*My interest in filing this protest is: Approval of the plan as currently drafted will adversely affect my access to an active mining claim (Desert Queen Bee; CAMC 309723) in which I possess a mineral interest.

*The issues being protested consist of: 1. I protest the “closed route” proposed classification (contained in Appendix G) of Route WEMO ID 112700 as a Translinear Disturbance and the proposed designation Alternative 5 (contained in Appendix G) of Route WEMO ID 112700 as a Translinear Disturbance instead of a limited open route designation such as “Motorized, Authorized, Permitted”. Additionally, the proposed justification for the classification and designation of WEMO ID 112700 and two related routes (see #2 and #3 below) as translinear disturbances contained in

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Appendix G appear to be in conflict with several objectives of the plan (as will be discussed in more detail below). 2. I protest the “closed route” proposed classification (contained in Appendix G) of Route WEMO ID 112699 as a Translinear Disturbance and the proposed designation Alternative 5 (contained in Appendix G) of Route WEMO ID 112699 as a Translinear Disturbance instead of a limited open route designation such as a “Motorized, Authorized, Permitted”. Additionally, the proposed justification for the classification and designation of WEMO ID 112699 and two related routes (see #1 above and #3 below) as translinear disturbances contained in Appendix G appear to be in conflict with several objectives of the plan (as will be discussed in more detail below). 3. I protest the “closed route” proposed classification (contained in Appendix G) of Route WEMO ID 111721 as a Translinear Disturbance and the proposed designation Alternative 5 (contained in Appendix G) of Route WEMO ID 111721 as a Translinear Disturbance instead of a limited open route designation such as a “Motorized, Authorized, Permitted”. Additionally, the proposed justification for the classification and designation of WEMO ID 111721 and two related routes (see #1 and #2 above) as translinear disturbances contained in Appendix G appear to be in conflict with several objectives of the plan (as will be discussed in more detail below).

*The parts of the plan being protested are the proposed route designations and proposed justifications of WEMO ID 112700, WEMO ID 112699 and WEMO ID 111721 contained in Appendix G of the PLAN and Final SEIS (see WMRNP_LUPA_Final SEIS_Appendix G_TMA5_RouteTable_508.pdf).

*Copies of documents addressing the issues that were submitted during the planning process by the protesting party: See Attachment A.

*A concise statement explaining why the decision is believed to be wrong:

“Land uses…which require transportation access include…mining…” (See Chapter 3 at page 3-2). My timely route specific digital comment included a specific reference to an active mining claim, the Desert Queen Bee (CAMC 309723), that is located on Route WEMO ID 112700 of the BLM MAP. BLM acknowledged receipt of this comment as being submitted on 2018-06-05 11:21:48 MST bearing Comment ID 20180605.172047.960000. (See Attachment A) Yet no reference at all is made to this important fact in the “Designation Decision Justification And Impact Minimization” in Appendix G for the proposed designation Alternative 5 of translinear disturbance for the route in question.

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Additionally in my comment I referenced other route segments that should remain open for motorized vehicles. These segments include WEMO ID 112699 and WEMO ID 111721 because WEMO ID 112700 (generically referenced as “Dobson Road”), in order itself to be accessed needs to be connected either to open route WEMO ID 78.794 (AKA Open Route CG 7253 or generically referenced as “Williams Well Road”) or to open route WEMO ID 112916 (AKA Open Route CG 7277). See Attachment B which is a screen shot from BLM’s master MAP for the PLAN of the immediate area at issue and discussed in further detail below. As can be seen in Attachment B, the currently proposed route system is DEVOID of any east-west open connector route between the only two primary north-south open routes in the immediate vicinity. This is an important departure from one of the objectives of the PLAN which is to insure connectivity with adjacent route networks to insure access to public land holdings and authorized users. Nonetheless, a proposed closed route designation of LINEAR DISTURBANCE is made in contradiction to the Executive Summary of Alternative 5 of the PLAN which states, “However, this alternative has been designed to incorporate specific comments received during the DSEIS public comment period regarding access to specific locations and uses.” (See page ES-18 of the Executive Summary). In fact, BLM failed to incorporate my specific comments contained in Appendix B or to even discuss them despite a specific request to do so (see WMRNP_LUPA_Final SEIS_Appendix I_Responses to comments_508.pdf which does not contain any reference to my name or my comments). There are additional deviations from other PLAN objectives by not having a reasonable east-west open route corridor that connects the two referenced major north-south open routes in the vicinity, i.e., CG 7253 and CG 7277. This is so because certain public travelers in TMA 5, instead of having a relatively short eastwest connectivity drive of .85 miles (see Attachment B) will be forced to drive approximately four to five miles south and then four to five more miles north to access the adjacent route corridor, i.e., by means of the nearest remaining open routes that connect the two north-south corridors (note, there are no east-west connectors further to the north as both referenced open routes climb into higher elevations and diverge from each other with zero open connectors). The result of all this unnecessary extra mileage will contribute MORE not less fugitive dust emissions. Additionally the extra mileage will add to harassment of wildlife, not minimize it (see Chapter 1 of the PLAN at page 1-6). The PLAN includes protection for the Desert Tortoise and Mojave Fringe Toed Lizard, specifically to minimize losses of tortoises to crushing (see Chapter 4 at pages 4-94 to 4-98). Do the math. Ten extra miles of driving as opposed to .85 miles raises a tenfold higher risk of crushing. Also, note that the court ordered

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BLM to “(1) Prepare a…network that complies with minimization criteria.” (page 1-10). The BLM justifications to close Routes WEMO ID 112700, WEMO ID 112699 and WEMO ID 111721 by designating them translinear disturbances do not minimize the above discussed criteria as effectively as a designation of MOTORIZED, AUTHORIZED, PERMITTED would. CONCLUSION: By modifying the proposed route designations for routes WEMO ID 112700, 112699 and 111721 (which all existed prior to 1980 as discussed in Attachment A) from Linear Disturbance to MOTORIZED, AUTHORIZED, PERMITTED, BLM will insure continuing lawful access to an active mining claim by a limited number of authorized permittees (who, as discussed in Attachment A, almost exclusively utilize extremely low impact, nonmechanized metal detecting as the primary recovery methodology) and will better achieve other PLAN objectives such as minimizing environmental concerns as discussed above.

I declare under penalty of perjury pursuant to the laws of California that the above statements are true and correct. Executed by ______________________________ on May 23, 2019 at Yucca Valley, California.

Thank you for reviewing this protest.

Respectfully yours,

Martin H. Milas

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