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Deadline to comment on withdrawal of FS lands in Rapid Creek Watershed from mineral entry

June 20, 2023 @ 11:00 pm - 11:59 pm

June 20th is the deadline submit comments on the proposed mineral withdrawal.

Mining is allowed on all Forest Service lands under the 1872 Mining Act unless land is withdrawn from mineral entry. Mining exploration & claims in the Rapid Creek drainage threaten Rapid City’s & Ellsworth’s water.

The administration is initiating consideration of a 20-year withdrawal of a subset of this critical watershed near Pactola Lake (20,574 acres ) on national forest system lands from location, entry, appropriation, and disposal under the mining laws and the mineral and geothermal leasing laws (subject to valid existing rights).  Existing proven claims would be grandfathered in, but F3 & Mineral Mountain (some mining companies doing exploration) have yet to prove they have a mineable resource.

Written comments should be submitted to: Black Hills National
Forest via https://cara.fs2c.usda.gov/Public/CommentInput?project=NP-3479

or use – https://cara.fs2c.usda.gov/Public//CommentInput?Project=63876

Your comments are requested through 6/20/2023 11:59:59 PM (Mountain Standard Time). Comments sent by email will not be accepted.

For more details visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/news/releases/bureau-of-land-management-and-usda-forest-service-commit-to-study

Publication of the Federal Register notice on March 21 will initiate a 90-day public review period for the proposed withdrawal –    https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-03-21/pdf/2023-05659.pdf

We expect Black Hills Clean Water Alliance or Dakota Rural Action will post alerts on their web or Facebook pages: https://bhcleanwateralliance.org/qa-on-proposed-mineral-withdrawal/

We want mineral withdrawal to protect water resources, but also air quality, biodiversity, cultural & recreation resources. People should write in support of withdrawal of

  1. The smaller 20,574 acres currently proposed by the Forest Service/BLM around Pactola Reservoir
  2. The entire Rapid Creek Drainage and/or
  3. The entire Black Hills

Native American’s have treaty claims to the Black Hills and are asking for the entire Black Hills to be withdrawn from mineral entry.

If you want all three, it might be strategic to ask them to do this in steps, as they have already started the withdrawal of the smaller 20,574 acre area. It has been temporarily withdrawn for 2 years while they review the withdrawal proposal via a NEPA document (Environmental Assessment or EIS). If they change the boundaries they must withdraw that first proposal and its’ protections. Then they would re-issue it with new boundaries and reinstate protections but that will slow down the process of getting protection.

In another area of the Rockies they proposed an area that was also too small and pursuant to comments received BLM did a second supplemental withdrawal proposal to add the additional acres to the first.

It is suggested that folks not ask for an EIS, as this will just delay administrative approval

and if during the delay, a new administration is elected, it might oppose the proposal. An EIS is not needed as mineral withdrawal prevents disturbance and will have no impact on the land.




June 20, 2023
11:00 pm - 11:59 pm