ePlanning DOI-BLM-NV-C020-2013-0005-EA (American Flat Road/Lucerne Access Right-of-Way)  
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Last Updated:
07/20/2016 07:54:01 MDT
What is the "scope" of this project?

On July 6, 2012 the BLM issued a right-of-way for Comstock Mining, LLC. use of the public land segments along the American Flat Road.  Comstock Mining, LLC. is currently using portions of the existing Lucerne Haul Road to transport material from their mining operation in the Lucerne pit to their heap-leach processing facility.  All mining operations and the heap-leach facility are located on privately-owned lands.  This right-of-way is valid through December 31, 2017.

On August 29, 2012 Comstock Mining, LLC. submitted to the BLM a plan of development and right-of-way application to amend their existing right-of-way to include the "Lucerne Haul Road."  Portions of the Lucerne Haul Road cross public lands.  In addition, Comstock Mining, LLC. is requesting that the "Lucerne Haul Road" be used exclusively for purposes of hauling materials from the pit areas to the heap-leach processing facility.

The request before the BLM is to amend the existing right-of-way to include the "Lucerne Haul Road," allow for modicification of the American Flat Road for public safety, and to authorize the reclamation of a user-created road that leads to the former American Flat Mill iste.

What is outside the scope of this project?

Comstock Mining, LLC. has not initiated the development of a plan of operations for mining on federal lands.  All on-going mining activities are located on privately-owned lands, not subject to BLM decision-making.  Under the BLM's 3809 regulations, a plan of operations would be required prior to initiating review under the National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation Act for mining on public lands.  Mining on private lands does not trigger the Mining Act (3809 regulations).

Why is the BLM not preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) for this project?

The proposal before the BLM is to amend an existing right-of-way to include the "Lucerne Haul Road," allow for modifications to the American Flat Road for public safety, and authorize the reclamation of a user-created road that leads to the former American Flat Mill site.  The BLM has determined that an environmental assessment is the appropriate level of compliance necessary for this right-of-way amendment.

Why has the BLM considered a reasonable "non-federal alternative?"

Comstock Mining, LLC. has presented to the BLM several variations for the continuation of their operation without federal authorization.  One such reasonable alternative has been analyzed in the final EA.  According to the Council on Environmental Quality, a federal agency may consider a reasonable non-federal alternative in its analysis.

What is a "reasonable" alternative?

Based on guidance and legal case law, there are two criteria to use in considering a reasonable alternative:

1.  Is the alternative technically feasible?  (can the project be built?)
2.  Is the alternative economically feasible?  (is it worth it to the applicant financially to build the alternative?)

A reasonable alternative does not need to have State and/or county permits in place in order for it to be considered reasonable for analysis purposes.

A reasonable alternative must meet the project's purpose and need.