Burning Man Project completed an Environmental Impact Statement with the Bureau of Land Management last month, marking a major milestone in this important process, which began in 2017. An EIS is the highest level of scrutiny BLM gives to projects on federal land, and it allows Burning Man Project to be issued a series of event permits for the next 10 years, beginning in 2019. All of the documentation, including the Final EIS and the Record of Decision, is available here.
This was a long and exhaustive process that examined many levels of Burning Man Project’s operations, interactions with local communities, impacts on the environment surrounding the Black Rock Desert, and health and safety on playa. We appreciate the work of the Nevada State BLM Office that got us to this point. As challenging as it was, we did our part, and the public did theirs by providing substantive comments on the document.
The most important thing to know right now is that the 2019 event is proceeding as planned, and we don’t expect any major changes that will impact participants this year.
In terms of 2020 and beyond, there is more work to be done. As we dig deeper into the contents of the Record of Decision, we will have a better understanding of whether what’s being required of us is legally, financially, operationally, and/or culturally feasible. Some of BLM’s requests are untenable, such as dumpsters, concrete perimeter barriers, and federal security checkpoints on site. We hope to work with BLM over the next year to make any necessary changes in advance of the 2020 event, and we will continue to demonstrate that our Black Rock City community is safe, responsible, and cleans up after itself.
What’s most important in 2019 is how we all show up. This is the year to shine! We know that our actions in Black Rock City this year will play a critical role in determining which mitigations BLM may require in the future and what shape they will take. If we’re ready to be the best citizens we can be, we will succeed. Read the Survival Guide, see our Consider Your Impact series on the Burning Man Journal, and scour the website for guidelines on how to store your fuel, how to tie down your trash loads, how to protect the playa from burn scars, and other tips from 30 years of doing it right.
One of the most important ways to show up this year is to be extremely respectful to the communities in Northern Nevada. We drive slowly through the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation because we are respectful of the people who live there, who still have to get their kids to the dentist and go to work despite the fact that the Burning Man event is going on. Slow down and stop for emergency vehicles, and take your time. Let’s make sure we all get there and back again safely with minimal impact to our neighboring communities.
Another great way to show up this year is to make sure all trash is disposed of appropriately. Check out our revamped Leave Nevada Beautiful page for approved places to bring your trash and recycling after the event. Private dumpsters are private; please only use dumpsters with permission. And if a dumpster is full, do not add to it. It seems so obvious and yet it happens every year, and it is frustrating for people who call Northern Nevada home all year round. As always, Burning Man is what we all make it, so LEAVE NO TRACE, and take care of each other out there. It’s going to be dusty.
We look forward to producing a safe, successful 2019 event that also continues to bring an economic and cultural boom to the community of Northern Nevada. Our actions in 2019 can change our future — let’s pull together to bring our A-game to Black Rock City.
We’ll see you on playa.
Top photo by Joe Sale