Make your voice heard in Burning Man’s 10-Year Environmental Impact Process

Jul 30, 2018

Burning Man is applying for a 10-year permit with the Bureau of Land Management to ensure our future building Black Rock City in the Black Rock Desert, and we need your help!

The Environmental Impact Statement process examines a range of issues and how they affect the environment, the surrounding communities and the government’s ability to manage the Special Recreation Permit that Burning Man operates under. We’re asking for your supportive comments by the deadline of 4 August. We hope Burning Man has made a difference in your life and you will take a moment to send us some love.

You can write a general message of support for the event and our community, but substantive comments are the most helpful to the EIS process. Some topics raised so far include:

  • Health and safety at the event, including determining appropriate law enforcement presence
  • Federal costs for administering the permit
  • Leave No Trace and how we work with local communities
  • The socio-economic impact of the event on Northern Nevada

Email is the best way to have your voice heard. Send your message to  BLM_NV_BurningManEIS@blm.gov and include “Burning Man SRP EIS Comments” in the subject line.

Background on these issues
Burning Man has an exceptional record on health and safety. The Burning Man organization operates the Rampart hospital and six satellite health stations that are run and staffed by experienced medical professionals and free to participants. We have hundreds of Black Rock Rangers patrolling the city on foot and bike every day. And we have an on-site fire department, hazmat rescue team, ambulances, and a fixed-wing aircraft to transport folks to regional hospitals. If you have experience with our medical and safety professionals, or if you work on these teams, please let BLM know!

BLM is also analyzing law enforcement at Burning Man. If you have had difficult or helpful interactions with law enforcement, please share your experience. If you believe police presence is heavy or just right, submit a comment. There are two primary law enforcement agencies on site – BLM and the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office – and Burning Man is charged millions of dollars every year for their services, including K-9 units (aka “drug dogs”). (Note that our own Black Rock Rangers are community liaisons, not law enforcement.)

Burning Man takes pride in being the largest Leave No Trace event in the world and having passed every single BLM cleanup inspection. Our Resto team stays late to ensure the playa is pristine, and while participants sometimes lose things on the drive home, our Highway Clean-Up crews meticulously clean the highways and roads all the way to Wadsworth, often gathering trash left by others throughout the year. We provide participants with directions to local trash, recycling and RV dump stations and work with local communities and agencies whenever issues arrive. Leaving No Trace is one of our Ten Principles, and you are our best advocate. Tell the BLM about your and our successful efforts!

Burning Man’s socio-economic impacts are felt across Nevada, and BLM wants to know about them. According to BRC Census, in 2017 the average Burner spent $667 in the state of Nevada. That includes (on average) $175 on food, $156 on lodging, $116 on “fun,” $112 on fuel, and $108 on survival supplies. Inspired by Burning Man, participants have started art and Maker spaces, a hotel and a host of Burner-owned businesses. Let BLM know where you spend your money in Nevada. If Burning Man has helped your business, community group or non-profit – or has inspired you toward art or entrepreneurialism – we need BLM to know.

Your opinion counts
Public input is crucial to the Environmental Impact Statement process. Tips for writing a comment include:

  1. Write clearly and succinctly.
  2. Use a new paragraph for each different point.
  3. Speak from personal experience, in your own words.

Your advocacy is essential in this process. The deadline for emailing your comments is 4 August, but we strongly recommend writing now while it’s fresh in your mind.

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