ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. – The task force on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Rock Springs draft Resource Management Plan (RMP), created at Governor Mark Gordon’s request, released their report containing their consensus recommendations today. This report will be provided as the task force’s comments to the BLM. The task force process was facilitated by the University of Wyoming’s Ruckelshaus Institute with support from the School of Energy Resources and College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources.
Knowing that recommendations supported by a representative group of stakeholders would carry more weight with the BLM, the task force was composed of 11 members broadly representing Wyoming organizations and interest groups. The Governor charged the task force to identify, evaluate, and recommend options that recognize the needs of the many stakeholders involved.
Four public meetings kicked off the process and provided guidance to the task force, which held multiple working meetings in Rock Springs. Task Force members adopted a charter in which they unanimously agreed that all recommendations in which consensus was reached would be public and sent to the BLM.
Ultimately, the task force report includes more than 100 recommendations that all 11 members of the task force found agreement on. They included proposals to bring reasonable management approaches to the checkerboard; recognition and guidance protecting access to, and the development of, the Known Sodium Leasing Area; and a series of instructions, reflecting the years of work by stakeholders, conserving landscapes around the Greater Little Mountain Area. While many more topics were deliberated, the constrained time frame and high bar for consensus meant some items did not make the final report.
This report is a result of the tireless efforts of the task force members, and their advisors, to analyze and prioritize the contents of the 1,350-page RMP, develop proposals, and move forward recommendations which all members could support. The recommendations were presented to BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning and Governor Gordon at the final meeting in Rock Springs on January 5, 2024.
“I cannot thank the members of this task force and UW staff enough for their work through the holidays over the last month and a half,” Governor Gordon stated. “Wyoming has a history of convening diverse stakeholder task force processes to find agreement around contentious natural resource issues in the state. This particular effort was initiated out of necessity. It was critical we amplified the public’s involvement in this important BLM planning document, and shared with BLM how Wyoming, through collaboration, creates durable and quality land management policy. I want to thank the BLM for their participation and extending the comment deadline to allow for this process to occur, and I look forward to the task force’s recommendations being included in the final document.”
Additional reports, data, and summaries from the meetings of the task forces can be found on the Ruckelshaus Institute’s project website. The site includes guidance on how to comment to the BLM on the Draft Rock Springs RMP. This task force process does not preclude individual task force members from submitting their own comments to the BLM, and the Governor invites all Wyoming residents to comment on the draft RMP and to use task force recommendations to inform their comments, where appropriate. The comment deadline is January 17, 2024.