Burning Man Igniting Conflict with the Federal Government over a 10-year Permit; Bureau of Land Management Issues Environmental Impact Statement

Burning Man, an annual arts and community event in the western city of Black Rock City, Nevada, is now locking horns with the US government over a 10-year permit.

The Bureau of Land Management delivered the draft environmental impact statement to analyze the potential impacts of organizing Burning Man, from 2019 to 2028 in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.

Burning Man organizers are on record as stating that the proposed new rules would spell the end of the event as we know it.

The Nevada division of the Bureau of Land Management (B.L.M.) manages and protects the Black Rock Desert Wilderness, public land wherein Burning Man is held annually.

The B.L.M. issued the necessary Draft Environmental Impact Statement in March after the organizers filed their request for a 10-year permit. The 400-page report is divided into two volumes that measures the environmental impact of the growing festival including air quality, light pollution, weeds, the safety of migratory birds, and trash build-up, and thus proposes a number of solutions.

An environmental impact statement is a common process from the federal government used to analyze how construction, events, or other activities could affect the natural landscape, and companies and organizers of events looking to do work on federal land must often comply with regulations implemented as an environmental impact statement in order to move forward with their plans.

Burning Man Claims that B.L.M. Proposals Would Forever Negatively Change the Fabric of the Burning Man Event; B.L.M. Proposes a 9.5-mile Concrete Wall

Burning Man organizers have responded accordingly to B.L.M’s proposals via its official Web site:

Some of B.L.M.’s proposals are in direct conflict with our community’s core principles and would forever negatively change the fabric of the Burning Man event, if not outright kill it.

Said site also published a so-called fact-check of the proposal, a 1,300-word call to action, and an almost 1,000-word suggestion on how to submit a great comment.

Perhaps the most contended suggestion is a 9.5-mile concrete wall around the perimeter. The B.L.M. stated in the proposal that said wall will prevent vehicles from going through it, and have said that it will block litter from escaping.

Burning Man organizers have stated that the wall is logistically onerous, environmentally irresponsible, unnecessarily redundant, [and] prohibitively expensive.

Burning Man event organizers have made further comments regarding B.L.M. suggestions:

The proposed level of government surveillance of and involvement in our everyday operations is unprecedented and unwarranted, and is unsupported by the … analysis. BLM measures would insert BLM agents into Burning Man Project pre-event and post-event operations on site, when our teams are building and removing infrastructure and performing playa restoration.

Burning Man also claims that said the statement requires astronomical cost increases and is beyond-excessive government oversight.

Burning Man has become wildly popular in the last few years with Silicon Valley executives and Hollywood stars, and is a classic case of determining regulations between private entities and the government.

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