via Jeff Knoll @ Pirate..
September 13th 2011
29 Palms Base expansion opposition efforts continue.
The California Motorized Recreation Council (CMRC) a non-profit association comprised of the leadership of the largest Off Highway Vehicle recreation organizations in California met with members of the 29 Palms Marines base expansion committee to engage in a status update regarding the draft Environmental Impact Study (EIS). The CMRC invited a number of relevant organization that are not currently CMRC members in an effort to reach the largest audience and provide a well rounded direction to discussions regarding the Marine Corps base expansion efforts. The CMRC also hoped to ensure the public was well represented in the event that additional options to the current alternatives where introduced by the Marine Corps.
The final base expansion EIS is scheduled for released in January 2012. Response to public comments will be included in the Final EIS, and the Marine Corps expressed first hand information that lead the group to believe that they are reading every one of the approximant 22,000 comments delivered to them during the comment period. The Final Record of Decision (ROD) is expected in April 2012. From there, the EIS will be submitted to the Department of Interior and subsequent submission to Congress. There is no estimated time frame for those actions.
The Marine Corps mission is to deliver a complete proposal to the Department of Defense regarding base expansion, and Alternative 6 (Expansion into the Johnson Valley OHV area) remains the preferred alternative. Chris Proudfoot represented the Marine Corps and expressed that due diligence regarding potential problems in Alternative 6 remained a priority for the Marine Corps. Seeing every problem within the preferred alternative, and management practices of the shared use area ranked as important issues for success.
What is the next step for the OHV community?
Each association in attendance will be reporting back to its membership, and Board of Directors to formulate its position. CMRC hopes to coordinate this effort in a unified voice and direct its efforts to congress. The Marine Corps will execute its mission to completion, and deliver its findings to the Department of the Interior. The OHV community must now begin looking at spreading its message to members of congress and continue educating the public about this important issue.
CMRC membership includes, The Off-Road Business Association (ORBA), California Association of 4 wheel Drive Clubs (Cal4Wheel), California Off-Highway Vehicle Association (CORVA), American Motorcyclists Association National (AMA), San Diego Off-Road Coalition (SDORC), American Sand Association (ASA), California Nevada Snow Mobile Association (CNSA) AMA District 36, and AMA District 37 Off-road.