SODA SPRINGS, Idaho – Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Idaho Falls District and Caribou-Targhee National Forest released a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and a draft U.S. Forest Service Record of Decision (ROD) analyzing different alternatives for the Dairy Syncline Mine and Reclamation Plan (the BLM does not release draft RODs). “We are pleased to see this project come to fruition and the opportunity for public review at this milestone,” said Mary D’Aversa, District Manager of the BLM Idaho Falls District. These documents are now available for review prior to release of final decisions.

The Dairy Syncline phosphate mine proposed by the J.R. Simplot Company (Simplot) would be located primarily on National Forest System lands within the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, approximately 14 miles east of Soda Springs. The Final EIS seeks a balance between resource extraction and conservation, while providing continuing opportunities for high-paying jobs in the local community. While the Final EIS examines a range of alternatives, the Preferred Alternative would maintain more than 250 current mining jobs for an additional 30 years. If approved, the mine would aid the region’s economy through the payment of taxes and royalties, purchases, sustaining support and service jobs, and providing $25 million in annual payroll. It would also result in the least impact to surface and groundwater of any action alternative analyzed.

In compliance with Department of the Interior’s Secretary’s Order 3373 issued in March 2019, the BLM has analyzed the impact of the proposed project on the public’s ability to access federal lands for recreation. The agency has determined it would increase the public’s ability to access federal lands for recreation because it would result in a net gain of 420 acres of federal lands.

The BLM and the U.S. Forest Service will use the Final EIS to make separate, coordinated decisions related to the proposed project. The BLM will decide whether to approve the Mine and Reclamation Plan and/or alternatives, enlarge the existing leases, approve the Resource Management Plan amendment for the land tenure actions, approve the land tenure actions as proposed or modified, and/or accept the parcel donated by Simplot.

The U.S. Forest Service will provide a recommendation to BLM regarding surface management and the selected alternative on leased National Forest System lands and decide whether to approve the Forest Service land exchange, accept the donated parcel, make Roadless Area boundary changes, approve Special Use Authorizations for off-lease activities, and/or approve amendments to its land use plan to add management prescriptions and designate utility corridors.

The Final EIS and Draft U.S. Forest Service ROD reflect the agencies’ preference to approve Simplot’s Mine and Reclamation Plan as modified by alternatives to reduce the BLM land sale, reduce the U.S. Forest Service land exchange, and selectively handle waste rock.

Electronic copies of the Final EIS and Draft USFS ROD are available on the BLM Land Use Planning and NEPA Register at https://go.usa.gov/xUjcA or the Caribou-Targhee National Forest Current and Recent Projects at http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/ctnf/landmanagement/projects.

For further information contact Bill Stout at the BLM Pocatello Field Office at 208-478-6367 or jwstout@blm.gov.

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