Friday, January 15, 2010

Jan 14 Clear Creek Meeting - BLM (and EPA) Should Be Ashamed

As more OHVers become interested in the fight to keep public lands open for motorized recreation, I wanted to share a rather ugly side of the battle to reopen the Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA).
Photo: New 1.7 million dollar BLM decontamination center being constructed while area
is closed and could remain closed - people are asking, "What the hell is going on?
Tobin's blog on multi-million dollar structure:

Last night, over 300 members of the recreation community attended a public meeting for CCMA’s DEIS to voice their anger at the closure.

Ed Tobin, spokesman for the Salinas Ramblers Motorcycle Club said it best in the TV clip below – “The BLM (and EPA) should be ashamed of themselves.”

News Story and TV Clip from Hollister Meeting

Both The General and Tobin believe the closure is politically motivated and based on threats by anti-OHV interests to file lawsuits if the BLM does not close the area to OHVs. The following correspondence between EPA’s Jere Johnson (she is quoted in above article and is on TV clip) regarding the uncertainty of their study and the BLM basically asking them to remove a section from the draft EPA report substantiates our concerns.
BLM/EPA correspondence from BRC FOIARick Cooper/CASO/CAIBLM/DOl

To Arnold Den/R9/USEPAJUS@EPA, Jere Johnson
cc Karl Ford/NOC/BLM/DOl@BLM
04/11/2008 01:42 PM
bcc Janet BedrosianfCASO/CNBLM/DOl

Subject Uncertainty in model

Jere and Arnold,

Just reading through the executive summary. The last paragraph places some doubt as to the adequacy of the model used. The risks could be lower or 0. I am aware that EPA has been consistent in mentioning this and it was in the previous draft.

Uncertainty related to the toxicity parameters of the risk assessment includes the application of the IRIS and OEHHA asbestos toxicity models, which were developed from epidemiological studies of occupational exposures, to infrequent and episodic recreational exposures. This uncertainty could mean that the actual risks could be much lower than those estimated in the CCMA assessment and perhaps zero. Another uncertainty, adjustments for early-lifetime childhood exposures, could mean that the actual risks are higher than those estimated in the report.

I am sure BLM will be asked “why make an emergency decision on a model that may not accurately portray the risks to the public?” The basis for the decision is the model’s depiction that most of the activities exceed the acceptable risk range of 1 in 10,000.

Any thoughts on a response

Rick Cooper
Field Manager
Hollister Field Office
20 Hamilton Court
Hollister, CA 95023
phone: (831) 630-5010

The Recreation HQ thanks everybody for holding their nose while attending these public meetings – the odor of foul play is really more than some of us can stand. I know a lot of these BLM employees and I am sure that many of them are not proud of their agency either. Let’s work to see CCMA reopened and hopefully our good relationship that once existed between users and the agency is restored.

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