BLM Turns the Wilderness Act on its Head with "Loony" Action in the Black Rock Desert Wilderness
Wilderness Watch challenges emerging threats to America’s National Wilderness Preservation System that we couldn’t have even imagined when we were founded in 1989. The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) recent illegal helicopter retrieval of a high-altitude aerial wireless network balloon that landed in the Black Rock Desert Wilderness in Nevada is one such example.
On February 7, the BLM notified the public that it had allowed Loon Balloon LLC — part of the Google corporation — to use a helicopter to recover the wireless network balloon in the Wilderness. Rather, the BLM is attempting to approve future motorized recovery of crashed high-altitude balloons in Wilderness and other sensitive areas without analyzing any site-specific impacts.
In no way did the balloon landing constitute an emergency. Rather, the emergency declaration and helicopter retrieval illustrate the growing problem of wilderness managers simply ignoring the Wilderness Act when it's inconvenient for them.
Now, after the fact, the BLM has issued a problematic environmental assessment (EA) that fails to analyze the impact of the recent helicopter retrieval, is unclear on future mechanized/motorized use for balloon or rocket recovery (the EA also deals with rocket launches near the Wilderness), and fails to determine measures to prevent future landings in Wilderness, among other problems.
Please take action by March 28 and tell the BLM that you support the No Action Alternative, the only alternative that protects Wilderness and wildlife.
Thank you, First Name, for taking action to protect and defend America's Wilderness!
Your action matters, and together, we will make a lasting difference.
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If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at Org Email. Thanks again!