The purpose of scoping is to provide an opportunity for members of the public to learn about the proposed action and to provide comments on issues and concerns. A total of 83,525 submittals containing 8,600 distinct comments were received. Information gathered by the BLM through the scoping process will be used in developing the EIS. Comments will be used to help identify a range of alternatives, as well as to identify issues and concerns to be considered in the EIS.
On July 21, 2009, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced a decision to segregate nearly 1 million acres of federal lands in the Arizona Strip for two years while the Department evaluates whether to withdraw these lands from new mining claims for an additional 20 years. The lands, managed by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service, are within portions of the Grand Canyon watershed and contain significant environmental and cultural resources as well as substantial uranium deposits.
The BLM manages more land - 253 million acres - than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.