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December 5, 2003
The Steens-Alvord Coalition, a group of local and national conservation organizations (including ONDA), sent a letter yesterday urging Oregon’s congressional delegation to initiate a formal investigation of a controversial contract between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the consultant involved in writing the management plan for Steens Mountain.
A news story published by the Oregonian this week reveals that the private consulting company, Enviroscientists Inc. of Reno, Nevada, has strong ties to the mining industry and was hired to draft a management plan for Steens Mountain and surrounding lands. The plan, which encompasses the 1.6 million-acre Andrews Resource Management Area, will have direct impacts on Steens Mountain and the surrounding Alvord Desert, Pueblo Mountains, and Trout Creek Mountains.
In October 2001, the BLM hired Enviroscientists to draw up management options for Steens. The controversial practice of using an outside business to handle work historically done by pubic agencies is a result of the Bush administration’s drive to outsource federal jobs to private companies. The fact that the manager of the Steens plan is treasurer of the California Mining Association, and that the assistant manager of the project is on the board of trustees of the Northwest Mining Association, is a cause of great concern for conservationists and reveals an inherent threat private corporations bring to public lands management. Both associations are aggressive promoters of opening millions of acres of public lands to mining.
Please visit ONDA’s web site to read the Oregonian story, a follow-up editorial, a press release from the Steens-Alvord Coalition, and the Coalition’s letter to Oregon’s congressional delegation. We also strongly suggest you contact the delegation and urge a formal investigation of the BLM-Enviroscientists contract.
Comments to the BLM supporting the Steens-Alvord Coalition’s Citizens’ Alternative are critical during the public comment period, which ends January 5, 2004. Visit ONDA’s web site to send a letter to the BLM on the Steens-Andrews draft management plan.
Read more . . .
Steens management plan scandal may affect wilderness study areas!
A Steens Mountain adventure
Backpacking Steens Big Indian Gorge Photos
A Steens Mountain wedding
Oregon Natural Desert Association ONDA
ONDA survey of Owyhee Canyon
Owyhee Canyon Wilderness study area
NOLS adventure in the Owyhee Canyon
Basic responsibilities of the wilderness traveler
The Ten Essentials
Leave No Trace
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