ePlanning DOI-BLM-AZ-G020-2017-0025-EIS (Ray Land Exchange and Proposed Plan Amendment)  
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Last Updated:
07/12/2019 15:56:40 MDT
July 12, 2019:  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Gila District Office is pleased to announce the release of the

The Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) can be viewed and downloaded on the Documents page.  

The Proposed Plan Amendments portion of the Ray Land Exchange Final SEIS/RMPAs are subject to a 30-day protest period, from July 12 to August 12.  

To submit a protest electronically, click on the Documents page.  Click on the "Submit Protest" button to the right of the Ray Land Exchange Final SEIS and Proposed Plan Amendments (under the "Public Participation" heading).

Copies of the SEIS are available for public review at: 
-BLM Gila District Office, 3201 East Universal Way, Tucson, AZ 85756;
-BLM Arizona State Office, One North Central Avenue, Suite 800, Phoenix, AZ 85004-4427; 
-BLM Kingman Field Office, 2755 Mission Boulevard, Kingman, AZ 86401-5308; and
-Kearny Public Library, 912-A Tilbury Drive, Kearny, AZ 85137.

Project Overview

The Ray Land Exchange proposes an exchange of lands between ASARCO LLC (Asarco) and the BLM for approximately 10,976 acres of “Selected” Public Lands in exchange for approximately 7,304 acres of “Offered” Private Lands. The SEIS provides additional analysis to supplement the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) issued in 1999, and is intended to  satisfy the ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Dep’t of Interior, 623 F.3d 633 (9th Cir. 2010).
In accordance with the court’s ruling and remand order, the SEIS supplements the FEIS by providing a comparative analysis of the anticipated environmental impacts that could occur from the reasonably foreseeable future actions, “with and without” BLM oversight of mining activities, which was found lacking in the FEIS by the Ninth Circuit. The analysis compare two scenarios of potential environmental impacts on the Selected Lands from mining operations. One scenario analyzes potential impacts that could occur on the Selected Lands if they are not exchanged and remain under BLM jurisdiction (mining occurs with BLM regulations). The other scenario discloses potential impacts that would occur if the Selected Lands are exchanged and become privately owned lands (mining occurs without BLM regulations).
The SEIS also addresses any substantial changes in the land exchange and any significant new circumstances or information relevant to analyzing the impacts of the land exchange (see 40 C.F.R. § 1502.9(c); BLM NEPA Handbook § 5.3).  No new lands have been added to the proposed exchange.

Offered (Private) Lands Parcel Descriptions
Gila River at Cochran Parcel
•           320 acres
•           2.5 miles southwest of the White Canyon Wilderness on the Gila River
•           Contains a segment of the Gila River Riparian Management Area
•           146 acres of riparian habitat suitable for southwestern willow flycatcher and western yellow-billed cuckoo
•           BLM special status species known or likely to occur
•           Important wintering and breeding bird habitat
Knisely Ranch Parcels
•           160 acres
•           3 in-holding parcels within the Mount Tipton Wilderness
•           Great Basin conifer woodland, interior chaparral, and Mohave desertscrub
•           Pine Canyon provides mesquite- and catclaw-dominated xeroriparian habitat
McCracken Mountain Parcels
•           6,384 acres
•           10 parcels within the McCracken Desert Tortoise Habitat ACEC
•           High quality xeroriparian habitat for a variety of wildlife species
•           BLM special status species known or likely to occur
•           Consolidates checkerboard lands, limiting future development in desert tortoise habitat
Sacramento Valley Parcel
•           120 acres
•           Adjacent to Warm Springs Wilderness and near Mount Nutt Wilderness
•           Mohave desertscrub biotic community
•           Adjacent to high-value bighorn sheep habitat in Black Mountains; within the Black Mountains Herd Management Area
•           Xeroriparian vegetation includes ironwood, catclaw, foothill paloverde and jojoba
Tomlin Parcels
•           320 acres
•           Two of three parcels are located on the Big Sandy River
•           Big Sandy parcels provide high-quality riparian habitat for a wide variety of wildlife species, including potentially suitable habitat for southwestern willow flycatcher
•           BLM special status species known or likely to occur (desert tortoise, chuckwalla, lowland leopard frog, and bat species)
•           Area subject to Wild and Scenic River study

Selected (Public) Lands Parcel Descriptions
The existing conditions and foreseeable uses for the Selected Lands vary by parcel. Conditions range from parcels containing existing mining, parcels adjacent to mining, and parcels with no current mining activity. Foreseeable uses for the Selected Lands include expansion of open pit operations, haul roads, leach and rock deposition areas, access roads, storm water facilities, and administrative facilities. Some parcels will be used as buffer areas and contain limited or no mining activity.
Ray Mine Parcels    
•           6,325 acres
•           18 parcels surrounding the Ray open pit copper mine
Copper Butte Parcels         
•           3,182 acres
•           5 parcels located 2 miles west of the Ray Mine
Chilito Parcels         
•           832 acres
•           5 parcels near the Hayden operations
Casa Grande Parcels         
•           637 acres
•           3 parcels near Casa Grande
•           Exchange for mineral estate only; the surface estate of these parcels is no longer owned by Asarco