Protesting the Northern Corridor Highway

Filing a Protest

BLM will release the Northern Corridor Highway Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on November 13, 2020. The FEIS includes proposed amendments to the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area (NCA) Resource Management Plan (RMP) that would be necessary to accommodate the Northern Corridor Highway. As a homeowner, or other stakeholder, you can protest these plan amendments.

Release of the FEIS initiates a 30-day protest period for any person who previously participated in the planning process (during scoping and/or the draft EIS) and has an interest that is (or may be) adversely affected by the proposed plan which includes the following changes:

  • Weakening protections for threatened and endangered species, their critical habitat, National Register of Historic Place-eligible cultural sites, scenery and recreation in order to accommodate a right-of-way for the Northern Corridor Highway inside the Red Cliffs NCA.

Please note that a protest may raise only those issues which were submitted for the record during the planning process, i.e., the concerns you brought up in your scoping or draft EIS comment.

Documenting Your Involvement with the Northern Corridor Highway Project

What Your Protest Must Contain

(i) The name, mailing address, telephone number and interest of the person filing the protest;

(ii) A statement of the issue or issues being protested;

(iii) A statement of the part or parts of the plan or amendment being protested;

(iv) A copy of all documents addressing the issue or issues that were submitted during the planning process by the protesting party or an indication of the date the issue or issues were discussed for the record; and

(v) A concise statement explaining why the State Director’s decision is believed to be wrong

Use Specific Examples

Cite specific planning documents or available planning records (e.g. meeting minutes or summaries, correspondence, etc.) in your protest, such as:

  • Issues you have with the FEIS (specific to page number) which will be available on November 13th, and will contain BLM’s decision on the location of the Northern Corridor Highway.
  • Issues you had with the Draft EIS (specific to page number) and commented on that were not resolved in the Final EIS. The Draft EIS is available at this link: https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/1502103/570
  • Emails between you and BLM concerning the project. Staff you were most likely to have corresponded with include Gloria Tibbetts, BLM Color Country District Planning and Environmental Coordinator(BLM_UT_NorthernCorridor@blm.gov), Keith Rigtrup, Field Manager St. George Field Office (krigtrup@blm.gov), and/or Red Cliffs National Conservation Area Manager Dawna Ferris-Rowley (dawna_ferris@blm.gov)
  • Your scoping comment. (The scoping public comment period occurred between December 5, 2019 and January 6, 2020).
  • Your draft EIS comment. (The draft EIS public comment period occurred between June 12 and September 10, 2020).

Critical Item Checklist for Filing a Protest

  • Name of Resource Management Plan (RMP) or Amendment (RMPA) being protested
    • You are protesting the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area Resource Management Plan Amendment. Please stay tuned for the unique project number released with the Final EIS.
  • Protester’s Name, Address, and Phone Number
  • Your interest in filing this protest
    • How will you be adversely affected by the approval or amendment of this plan as a homeowner? Decreased property value; potential health concerns related to noise, air and light pollution; decreased quality of life; increased potential for catastrophic wildfire and loss of property or life; etc.
  • Issue or issues being protested
    • Arbitrary changes being made to the Red Cliffs NCA RMP that weaken protections for homeowners, threatened species, critical habitat, scenery, recreation and cultural resources in order to accommodate the Northern Corridor Highway.
    • Location of the Northern Corridor Highway and its proximity to your home, especially given that transportation alternatives located outside of the Red Cliffs NCA were studied and found more effective than the Northern Corridor Highway in the draft EIS.
    • Violation of Endangered Species Act, Omnibus Public Land Management Act, Federal Land Policy and Management Act, Land and Water Conservation Fund Act and Great American Outdoors Act.
    • One-time exemption to BLM LAR-13 to allow the highway to travel through a designated avoidance area.
    • Downgrading the Visual Resource Management class (weakening protections for scenery) to accommodate the highway.
    • Downgrading the Special Recreation Management area (weakening protections for recreation) to accommodate the highway.
  • Statement of the part or parts of the plan being protested (including Chapter, Section, Page, and/or Map)
  • Attach copies of all documents addressing the issue(s) that were submitted during the planning process by the protesting party, OR an indication of the date the issue(s) were discussed for the record (including dates)
  • A concise statement explaining why the State Director’s decision is believed to be wrong.

Protests Must Be Submitted Before December 11, 2020

All protests must be in writing and filed with the BLM Utah Director Greg Sheehan either as a hard

copy or electronically via BLM’s ePlanning website by the close of the protest period on or around

December 11, 2020.

We encourage you to file your protest at the E-planning site in addition to emailing it to:

Please file electronically

In the intent of complying with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s new guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the BLM is requesting the public to please submit all protests electronically until such time as these safety guidelines are no longer necessary.

Disclaimer

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your protest, be advised that your entire protest – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time.  While you can ask us in your protest to withhold from public review your personal identifying information, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

What to Expect After Submitting Your Protest

The BLM State Director, Greg Sheehan, will promptly render a decision on the protest. The decision will be in writing and will set forth the reasons for the decision. The decision will be sent to the protesting party by certified mail, return receipt requested.

Protests must be resolved before the BLM can issue the Record of Decision (final decision) on the location of the Northern Corridor Highway right-of-way. We expect the Record of Decision to be issued in mid-January, so you should expect to hear from Mr. Sheehan prior to January 15, 2020.

Resources

Conserve Southwest Utah website

Draft EIS Comment Guidance (9 key issues with the Draft EIS, including homeowner concerns)

Conserve Southwest Utah staff

Public Land Program Director Sarah Thomas, sarah@conserveswu.org

BLM’s E-planning Site for the Northern Corridor Highway (home of the draft EIS, final EIS, graphics, images, etc.)

BLM’s “Critical Item Checklist for Filing a Protest” webpage

BLM’s “Filing a Plan Protest” webpage