U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR  BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT  
ePlanning DOI-BLM-ID-I020-2019-0008-EIS (Blackrock Land Exchange)  
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Last Updated:
06/14/2019 09:24:24 MDT
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Project Background
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Pocatello Field Office Pocatello Field Office is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze and disclose the potential effects of a land exchange proposed by the J.R. Simplot Company (Simplot) to acquire 719 acres of Federal lands managed by the BLM in exchange for 667 acres of non-Federal land owned by Simplot, pursuant to Section 206(a) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). The Federal lands are adjacent to the Don Plant in Power and Bannock Counties, Idaho, and the non-Federal lands are located in the Chinese Peak-Blackrock Canyon area in Bannock County approximately five miles southeast of Pocatello, Idaho. The proposed land exchange would allow Simplot to construct cooling ponds and expand future gypsum stack storage capacity at Simplot’s Don Plant. The non-Federal land Simplot is offering in exchange is part of a highly popular recreation area and important winter range for mule deer. Both the Federal and non-Federal lands occur within the ceded boundary of the original Fort Hall Indian Reservation.

In 1994, Simplot submitted its land exchange proposal to the BLM Pocatello Field Office. An environmental investigation occurred in 1998 after concerns arose regarding groundwater quality in the eastern Michaud Flats area associated with operations of Simplot’s Don Plant and the FMC elemental phosphorous facility. The investigation led to designation of both facilities and the surrounding area as the Eastern Michaud Flats (EMF) Superfund site pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).  Subsequently, in 2007 an Environmental Assessment (EA) was prepared to analyze the proposed land exchange, and the BLM issued a Decision Record/Finding of No Significant Impact (DR/FONSI) on December 21, 2007. 

The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes (Tribes) protested the issuance of the DR/FONSI approving the land exchange. The Idaho BLM State Director issued a decision dismissing the Tribes’ action, which was affirmed by the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA).  The Tribes litigated the decision in District Court. In May 2011, the Idaho District Court granted the Tribes’ motion and remanded the DR/FONSI to the BLM and required the agency prepare an EIS.


 
 
 
 
Public Comment Period open from May 20, 2019 to July 5, 2019.  Electronic comment submission can be accessed through the Documents link located on the left side of the homepage.

See links to the left:

Documents:  Dear Reader Leader (comment period 05/20/2019 - 07/05/2019), Project Introduction (comment period 05/20/2019 - 07/05/2019), Federal Register Notice 2019-10473, and Blackrock Land Exchange EIS - Frequently Asked Questions.


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Overview Map, Federal Land, and Non-Federal Land.