Burning Man approval challenged | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Burning Man approval challenged

GERLACH – An environmental group is challenging a permit for this year’s Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert.

A nonprofit organization called Black Rock Rescue appealed to the U.S. Department of Interior to overturn the recent approval by the Bureau of Land Management of an environmental assessment and permit for Burning Man 2000.

The event is to take place on the playa of the Black Rock Desert, northeast of the town of Gerlach.

By conservative estimates, the weeklong “art festival/social event” will draw more than 28,000, and their cars, RVs and even private airplanes to the remote and pristine dry lake bed.

The event has been held on the playa for the last 10 years and BLM expects to grant permits for the event for at least another three.

The appeal charges that the annual and long-term effects of Burning Man are inflicting serious environmental harm to the playa and surrounding dune and riparian habitat.

The appeal further alleges that Burning Man’s activities are rendering the playa unsafe and unusable for other recreational activities.

“We have repeatedly asked Black Rock City LLC and the BLM to prepare an environmental impact statement and to mitigate all adverse environmental impacts, but so far we have been completely ignored,” said John Bogard, spokesperson for the Black Rock Rescue.

“Our goals are for BLM to conduct a full EIS, limit the size of the crowd, and keep the site of Burning Man in one location to be able to monitor impacts over time.”

BLM documentation reportedly shows that satisfactory final cleanup of the event has never been accomplished by the promoters in the years it has been held on the Black Rock.

“If Burning Man wants to be a welcome part of the Black Rock community, it has got to begin live up to its earth friendly, “Leave No Trace” rhetoric.” Bogard said. “And Leave No Trace is a policy that works for small groups of hikers, not for a crowd this size and all their cars.”

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