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UFWDA Community Forum  |  Regional Focus - News and Local Events  |  Southwest  |  Topic: BLM Issues Immediate Temporary Closure of Clear Creek Management Area « previous next »
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Todd Ockert
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« on: May 01, 2008, 07:07:58 pm »

BLM Issues Immediate Temporary Closure of Clear Creek Management Area

To protect public health and safety from exposure to asbestos, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today issued an immediate temporary closure of 31,000 acres of public lands in Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA) in southern San Benito and western Fresno counties to all public use.

BLM's action is in response to a human health risk assessment released today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that concludes the exposures measured by EPA for many recreational activities at CCMA are "above the EPA acceptable risk range of lifetime cancers." It also notes that children "have greater risk than adults due to higher exposure measurements [and] are of special concern because their exposures occur earlier in their lives." This risk impacts recreational off-highway vehicle use, and extends to other forms of public recreation use/access in CCMA, according to the assessment.

Rick Cooper, BLM's Hollister field manager stated, "Protecting the public's health and safety is BLMís number one priority. Based on EPA's results, we believe a temporary closure of most of the CCMA is in the public interest and we ask for the publicís cooperation. With the closure in place, we will immediately move on with developing a long-term resource management plan (RMP) for the area with the publicís full involvement."

BLM will continue public scoping started last year for the RMP through June 21, 2008. BLM has also scheduled two public workshops (May 19 in Hollister and May 21 in San Jose) to discuss the planning process to be held locally and in the South Bay. BLM is also hosting an informational meeting May 8 at the Convention Center in Santa Clara for EPA representatives to present assessment findings with the public. Separate announcements on these meetings have been issued.

BLM manages 63,000 acres of public lands within the CCMA, which covers 75,000 acres. The area has been used extensively for OHV recreation for many years as well as hunting and rock hounding. The CCMA also encompasses the Serpentine Area of Critical Environmental Concern, the San Benito Mountain Research Natural Area, and the Pajaro, Arroyo Pasajaro and Silver Creek watersheds.

The BLM will work closely with interested parties to develop management actions best suited to the resources and the needs of the public, Cooper emphasized. This collaborative process will take into account local, regional, and national concerns. Early participation by all interested parties is encouraged and will help guide the planning process and determine the future management of public lands.

The EPA assessment is available online at www.epa.gov/region09/toxic/noa/clearcreek and BLMís closure order is posted at www.ca.blm.gov/hollister . The closure is pursuant to 43 Code of Federal Regulations 43 CFR 8364.1, which specifies penalties for violation of the order. For further information contact the BLM in Hollister by phone (831-630-5000) or e-mail, ca190@ca.blm.gov.

-BLM-

BLM Seeks Public Input for Clear Creek Management Area Resource Management Plan

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will host two public meetings this month to work with interested parties to develop a range of alternatives for long-term management of the Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA).

The CCMA encompasses approximately 63,000 acres of public lands in southern San Benito and western Fresno counties. The alternatives developed will be analyzed in a resource management plan and environmental impact statement (RMP/EIS) for the area, according to Rick Cooper, BLMís Hollister field manager.

Both public meetings will take place from 6:00 Ė 8:00 p.m. Dates and locations are listed below:

May 19, Veteranís Memorial Hall, 649 San Benito St., Hollister; and

May 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Library Room 225, 150 E. San Fernando St., San Jose.

These meetings are a continuation of the "scoping" period that began in September 2007. The public is encouraged to help BLM identify issues, concerns, and management actions to be incorporated into the draft RMP/EIS during these public meetings, and the remainder of the scoping period, which runs through June 21, 2008.

"Public health and safety from exposure to asbestos is a major concern," Cooper emphasized, noting that BLM issued an immediate temporary closure May 1 of 31,000 acres in the CCMA based on the findings issued the same day by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the exposures measured by EPA for many recreational activities at CCMA are "above the EPA acceptable risk range of lifetime cancers."

EPAís CCMA Asbestos Exposure and Human Health Risk Assessment, available online at www.epa.gov/region09/toxic/noa/clearcreek, also states that children "have greater risk than adults due to higher exposure measurements [and] are of special concern because their exposures occur earlier in their lives."

Comments on long-term management alternatives for the CCMA should be sent to the BLM Hollister Field Office, 20 Hamilton Court, Hollister, Calif. 95023; fax: 831-630-5055; or e-mail, cahormp@ca.blm.gov. For further information contact Sky Murphy, BLM Hollister Field Office, environmental planning specialist, (831) 630-5039.

-BLM-
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