Take action: Tell BLM to improve management plan for Otero Mesa and other special places in Southern New Mexico

Otero Mesa

The Bureau of Land Management's draft plan for managing public lands in three Southern New Mexico counties needs serious improvement — and your input can improve it. Special places like Otero Mesa and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks are at risk if the plan is not improved.

You can help by commenting to the BLM: http://bit.ly/12n1UNt

In April, the BLM's Las Cruces District Office released its draft Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for the Tri-County area of Sierra, Otero and Doña Ana counties. This new RMP is needed to reflect changing policies, land-use conditions and emerging issues such as climate change.

Unfortunately, the Draft Tri-County RMP has some glaring deficiencies that will require a much better job from the BLM Las Cruces District Office in preparing the final plan:

• Although BLM offices are required to maintain a comprehensive inventory of Lands with Wilderness Characteristics, this draft has a woefully incomplete inventory, and the office lacks a satisfactory plan to develop one. Even a cursory Geographic Information System and satellite overview could identify areas of 5,000 acres or more without roads to identify them as potential Lands with Wilderness Characteristics.

• The BLM wants to defer a plan for oil and gas leasing for several years and then amend the finalized RMP. In the meantime it proposes using the earlier RMPs to direct its leasing decisions. A moratorium on all oil and gas leasing in the Tri-County area would represent a more cautious and responsible approach to this critical planning element until the leasing amendment is adopted.

• This draft plan has no Travel Management plan and leaves BLM’s 2.8 million acres in the Tri-County area open to cross-country travel in any kind of vehicle from an ATV to a cement truck.

We encourage you to submit comments on this plan regardless of your location by clicking here: http://bit.ly/12n1UNt
These are public lands owned by all Americans, and your input is critical. You can view the Tri-County Draft Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact statement here.

Please contact Dan Lorimier (575-740-2927), daniel.lorimier@sierraclub.org, for more information on various aspects of this draft plan.