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We support the expeditious renewal of the San Francisco Peaks/Mount Elden Mineral Withdrawal (the “withdrawal”) for an additional 20 years.1 Renewal of the withdrawal additionally highlights the need for all U.S. Forest Service management decisions, not just those pertaining to mining, to be more responsive to and protective of the unique traditional cultural values of the San Francisco Peaks Traditional Cultural Property (TCP). We support and encourage federal agencies to work with tribes to improve management directives and to establish working relationships beyond the Section 106 tribal consultation limitations.

In this context, the undersigned individuals and organizations, on behalf of our thousands of members and supporters, write to support the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management’s proposal to extend the withdrawal for an additional 20 years, and to request that federal agencies also undertake the following actions, outside of this current proposed action if necessary to avoid a lapse:

(1) The Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service should also expand the scope of the withdrawal to include leasable and salable minerals; and

(2) With sensitivity to timing relative to the COVID-19 pandemic and the level of resources and attention the pandemic is currently requiring of tribal governments, the Forest Service should make the following opportunities available to interested Tribes: (a) finalizing the San Francisco Peaks Traditional Cultural Property (TCP) designation, and its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, and (b) developing and establishing a San Francisco Peaks Tribal Commission, potentially similar to that described in the 2016 Presidential Proclamation for Bears 1 FR Doc. 2020-12914 2 Ears National Monument, to provide guidance and recommendations on the development and implementation of management plans and ongoing management within the TCP; and

(3) The Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service should work with interested Tribes and members of Congress, at their solicitation, to make the withdrawal permanent.

Absent action from the Bureau of Land Management, the San Francisco Mountain/Mount Elden Mineral Withdrawal will expire on October 17th of this year.

  1. FR Doc. 2020-12914

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