What a wonderful gift for Las Placitas Association’s Golden Anniversary! A 50-year moratorium on mineral extraction in Placitas might be achieved as we celebrate our 50th year serving you.

Action has finally been taken to safeguard sacred tribal lands, protect our air quality, conserve water and assure contiguous wildlife corridors through the Placitas area. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced on September 16 a proposed administrative withdrawal to protect more than 4,000 acres in the Placitas area from new mining, gas, and oil development claims in the area for 50 years. This includes the Buffalo Tract, the Crest of Montezuma and two small parcels. An administrative withdrawal is made by the President, cabinet secretary or other authorized branch officer to limit some activities on an area of Federal land to maintain other public values.
LPA has been advocating for protection from gravel mining in Placitas for over 25 years and inspired submission of 17,000 citizen comments in opposition to gravel mining during development of the draft BLM Rio Puerco Management Plan (RMP). When the draft RMP was published in 2012 proposing additional gravel mining along the northern boundary of Placitas, LPA turned to administrative withdrawal as a potential solution to the problem. With five of the largest gravel mines in the state in and adjacent to Placitas, we had to act.

Joined by the Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association and their Land Use Protection Trust, we intensified efforts to work with the state, local and congressional delegation to stop gravel mining from destroying Placitas. LPA chaired the BLM sponsored committee that developed a recreation plan for the Buffalo Tract as an alternative to gravel mining. We also teamed with Pathways: Wildlife Corridors of New Mexico in efforts to keep the Crest of Montezuma connected to the other mountains of New Mexico for the safe passage of wildlife when its transfer from BLM to the Forest Service failed to pass congress.

The job is not over and we need your help! A 90-day comment period began September 20th where the BLM is soliciting written comments from citizens, tribal governments and industry before the 50-year Placitas withdrawal can go into effect. During this comment period, we will face objections from the mining and building industries.

What can you do?
1. Attend LPA’s community meeting at the Placitas Community Library, Tuesday, October 17, at 6:00 p.m. Learn how to craft your comments to the BLM so your voice will be heard most effectively. We will have maps and data to share and experts to answer your questions.
2. Attend the BLM’s meeting at the Placitas Community Library on November 14, 5:30 -6:30 p.m. armed with the information you need to ask the right questions.

3. Submit your comments before December 19, 2023. Only written comments will be accepted during the 90-day comment period. Mail your comments to the attention of “Placitas Withdrawal” at the BLM Rio Puerco Field Office, 100 Sun Avenue, Suite 300, Albuquerque, NM 87109.

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