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NM Spaceport Concerns - (07/22/2008 Correspondence)
Hopefully, all who read this, whether agreeing with what I have written or not will ponder the ramifications and make your concerns known.

If you have no way to share your thoughts on this or related matters perhaps I could help by posting herein what similar problems you may be confronted with.

Thoughtful discussions on this topic or any related prospecting subject is invited.


Final Spaceport Comments 11-28-08

-Ms. Stacey M. Zee
FAA Environmental Specialist
Spaceport America EIS
c/o ICF International
9300 Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031
E-mail: SpaceportAmericaEIS@icfi.com

Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Spaceport America Commercial Launch Site, Sierra County, New Mexico, June 2008

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/licenses_permits/htm/sw_spaceport_eis/                                                       

Although I am not blessed with a command of the English language or the legal credentials of an attorney I offer the following comment data relating to what I found within the contents of this EIS.

  SUMMARY OF MY COMMENTS

First, I would like to state that my primary reason for offering My Comments is to avoid any possible misunderstanding by publically stating that I am focused upon exploitable minerals/metals that appear to reside in at least a 20 mile long x 20 mile wide x hundreds to thousands of feet deep in the visible area of the proposed spaceport. So, with the aforementioned in forefront of thoughts My Comments are concentrated upon how/why this EIS has regarded the metals/minerals, mining and mining claim owners.

Second I’d like to thank Ms. Stacey Zee who has acted very responsibly and always promptly communicated with me.

Over-all Issues of Concern:

1. Based upon careful examination of this EIS I discovered issues relating to stakeholders that have not been given due consideration within this EIS.

2. Despite the fact that this EIS is laborious to read and deceptively difficult to decipher, contains subtle hostility and veiled implications regarding potentially competing commercial activities on or around adjoining BLM land next to the proposed spaceport I have tried to not imply any disrespect in my comments towards the NMSA. 

3. I recognize that the spaceport can become a potential valuable contribution for Sierra County; but I don’t want the desires of NMSA to squash my or any other American dream.

4. Why can’t the land within the visual boundaries of this proposed spaceport also be utilized by all stakeholders instead of selectively limiting the lands to a few ranchers, residents, spaceport activity, occasional tourists and the so-called historic trail?

Specific Issues of Concern:

1. While reading and trying to decipher this cryptic 500 page EIS document a huge question surfaces – why do the objectives of the NMSA appear to be different than what the spaceport claims to embrace? For instance: the NMSA alleges that the primary purpose of the proposed spaceport is 1) stimulate economic activity, 2) create employment opportunities, 3) advancement of technology, 4) generating local tourism, 5) making NM a world class act, and 6) capitalizing on space tourism. Yet, this EIS appears to be intentionally discounting natural resource commercial activity (mining) that could provide benefits equaling or surpassing the proposed spaceport without the financial debt burden.

I read nothing in this EIS mentioning how an alternative spaceport located in another state could create a destructive socioeconomic situation to Sierra and Dona Ana counties if main businesses were lured away from NMSA . Therefore, I wonder why this subject has not been adequately dealt with to avoid catastrophic socioeconomic threats?

2. This EIS appears to be carefully designed so that the uninformed reader would be led to believe that mining, including oil/gas exploration is only a historical and irrelevant by-gone curiosity. Clearly, what was overlooked or not discovered 10, 20 or 100 years ago cannot preclude today’s technological potential discoveries. Therefore, for this EIS to infer that minerals are not present is not a valid innuendo. Thus, this EIS does not meet scientific standards and therefore this NMSA EIS does not deserve approval or being granted a license from the FAA.

3. Mining (harvesting the metals) should not be relegated to a historical dustbin and deserves at least equal importance with the spaceport if for no other reason than mining and utilizing metals is what separates man from animal, has helped create our current civilized standard of living that without strategic metals (pgms, etc.) there would be no need of a spaceport.

4. The proposed spaceport should be held to the same standards the state utilizes towards the mining community to avoid appearing to be practicing favoritism at the expense of the people.

5. Currently, it appears to me that the states’ environmental departments biased mindset of eliminating or having no mining activity is aiding America’s enemies and causing unnecessary price rises of all natural resources. Therefore, continuing to utilize crafty rhetoric that is in my opinion anti-mining activity in the Jornada del Muerto area is not only un-American, anti-human, but might one day be considered criminal..

6. My comprehension of an EIS is that it is supposed to be a detailed study that specifically analyzes the pluses and minuses relating to the entirety of the environmental effects. Therefore, to discriminate as this EIS does against mineral/metal exploitation the appearance of an agenda seems to predominate instead of a fairly and accurately presented EIS.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) provides for the consideration of environmental issues in Federal agency planning and decision making. NEPA requires that major Federal actions be examined for both individual and cumulative environmental impacts. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is a detailed public document that provides an assessment of the potential impacts a Federal action might have on the human or natural environment. The EIS also informs decision makers and the public of the potential environmental impacts of reasonable alternatives

7. According to my understanding a SIP (Stakeholder Involvement Process) is to assist in developing a range of alternatives for an EIS. Yet, I saw nothing within past or this EIS that mining stakeholders were consulted with SIP. In fact, everything I know suggests that the NMSA went to great lengths to not involve mining claim stakeholders. Not once am I aware of did the NMSA contact mining claim owners that could/would be affected by this spaceports’ activities. Clarifying further – all local mining claim owners are registered with the BLM and the NMSA could have easily contacted all mining claim owners within visible view of the proposed spaceport activities. Furthermore, I asked to be included in the process, but was, in my opinion intentionally left-out. Apparently, because I am only a prospector with mining claims in the vicinity the NMSA did not want my participation. Therefore, because of this reality and finding no evidence of provisions within this EIS protecting the interests of mining claim stakeholders this entire EIS should become void and another EIS initiated with all the stakeholders able to participate in the creation of an EIS that reflects the people and not merely the interests of NMSA and the El Camino Real (see ES-18)

I am very concerned that if this EIS is found acceptable and the NMSA is granted a license then NMSA under some pretense will eliminate the prospector, mining claim holder and future mining. Therefore, it is imperative that this EIS is rejected to protect all commercial interests that will or might occur within the entire area (30 miles North, South and West) of the proposed spaceport area. Furthermore, the State needs to re-examine the validity of not mining the potential under the spaceport area, because it too appears to contain tremendous valuable mineral reserves.

8. It is my understanding that one of the aims of an EIS is to be specific, yet this NMSA EIS contains such ambiguous terminology as – COULD (235 times), MAY (180 times), MIGHT (18 times), SHOULD (40 times), POSSIBLE (53 times) and APPROXIMATELY (160 times). Therefore, if my understanding of the intent of an EIS has merit this EIS should be discarded as unreliable.

9. The general area of the Caballo Mts and the Jornada del Muerto has historically been and currently is a treasure hunters paradise.

Although I don’t believe in the yarns, stories and tales of fabulous riches (stacks of smelted gold/silver bars) in the general area of the proposed spaceport treasure hunters have the right to seek the American dream just as much as mining companies or the thrill of a joy-ride into space. Similarly, it’s a well known reality that academia and public servants barely tolerate the presence of these treasure hunters who are a form of tourism that contributes to the local economies and thus deserve a presence in the construction of an EIS that also reflects their views. Failure to consult with all stakeholders is in my opinion an obvious show of disrespect for all interested stakeholders. Furthermore, the Las Cruces BLM officers know about these treasure hunters and have for many years been accepting their claim notices and as of 1993 collecting the annual BLM mining claim maintenance fees (100+ dollars per claim). Therefore, regardless of the legitimacy of these treasure hunters the mere fact that they have been historically active has set a precedent for their stakeholder presence, which the NMSA has failed to recognize. Thus, this EIS should be scrapped and all stakeholders who constantly utilize these public lands should be allowed participation in the EIS document construction.

10. Based upon everything within this EIS pertaining to land use I have chosen to say that the No Action Alternative is the only viable option if the residents of southern New Mexico want a life exceeding everything they have imagined. Choosing any other option appears to me that the people of New Mexico and the USA will forfeit both significant opportunities and a superior standard of living.

NOTICE

I have attached a short 3mb video clip that digitally illustrates visual proof that Osmium is hosted in the general area of the proposed spaceport. In addition to the video are a couple attached images of the instrument (Vreeland Spectrex Spectroscope with a 12mp Canon A650IS Camera) used to generate the video. I chose Osmium because it is not a well known platinum group metal and because it is becoming increasingly technologically important to a variety of applications that until recently was not even conceived.

Note: The Os (Osmium) is on the right side of film and has been properly oriented to the bright sodium doublet (2 parallel center) lines, whereas the Cs (Cesium on left side) has not been properly oriented and is therefore not relevant. While watching the video there will be seen no bright spectrum lines at the beginning of presentation, but will quickly begin to show and match-up with 3 lines in the Os. I have other video’s that show more spectrum lines for Os, but take too much time to send by email.
It would take too many pages to adequately explain the numerous how’s and why’s regarding the mechanics/validity of this instrument or the visible/invisible spectrum that all elements display. Having said this – the simplicity is – if an element is not present there won’t be any matching lines, thus avoiding abundant errors that plague all prospectors. For additional bits of information about this PGM discovery read my comments and the conclusion (at end) of this document.

EIS PUBLIC COMMENT regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Spaceport America Commercial Launch Site, Sierra County, New Mexico.
June 2008
http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/licenses_permits/htm/sw_spaceport_eis/

For clarification – My Comment(s) are in a bolded “Times New Roman” font format, whereas the EIS wording used herein is also “Times New Roman” but italicized.

Executive Summary.—Page ES-1
Purpose and Need
The need for the project proposed by NMSA is to establish a long-term source of economic development in southern New Mexico that is based on high technology and can be used to develop educational opportunities. State-sponsored studies have shown great potential benefits to the State in terms of jobs, as well as direct and indirect economic impact. To be successful, the project must meet the expected needs of the commercial space transportation industry for both vertical and horizontal suborbital launch capacity. Several commercial space transportation providers have made commitments to the State contingent on the State's ability to provide the licensed launch facility in a timely way. They have done so because of the inherent advantages offered by the State's proposed site, which features a dry and sunny climate, 4,500-foot launch pad elevation, low population density, contiguous sections of available land, and access to the restricted airspace over nearby WSMR.
My Comment
This spaceport might well establish long term economic gains, but to imply that this particular “high technology” methodology is superior or better than any other commercial endeavor is at best misleading. I find that by inferring other commercial endeavors, such as mining are technologically inferior to be not only repugnant, but bordering upon elitism. Furthermore, spending taxpayer’s monies for the self-aggrandizement of the state’s superior intellect to justify potential future benefits has the ear-marks of being able to forecast the future, which, so far no one can do.

Page ES-3
The purpose of the FAA action in connection with NMSA’s request for licensure is to ensure compliance with international obligations of the U.S. and to protect the public health and safety, safety of property, and national security and foreign policy interest of the U.S. during commercial launch or reentry activities;
My Comment
Granting a license is great as long as the US national security interest are wholesome and not merely a portion of the health and safety of the American people.  Furthermore, the words “national security” would surely include any other commercial enterprise, such as mining strategic metals that the United States depends upon. In addition the words “safety of property” could and should just as easily be described as protecting the land for other or unforeseen commercial enterprises that will “protect the public health and safetyby creating the means for a secure financial future. Consequently, this EIS does not completely meet the test of protecting the public’s over-all interests and the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE should be chosen.

Environmental Consequences of the Proposed Action and Alternatives
Analysis Methodology – Page ES-5
Eleven resource areas were considered to provide a context for understanding and assessing the potential environmental effects of the Proposed Action, with attention focused on key issues. The resource areas considered included compatible land use; Section 4(f) properties and farmlands; noise; visual resources and light emissions; historical, architectural, archaeological, and cultural resources; air quality; water quality, wetlands, wild and scenic rivers, coastal resources, and floodplains; fish, wildlife, and plants; hazardous materials, pollution prevention, and solid waste; socioeconomics, environmental justice, and children’s environmental health and safety risks, and energy supply and natural resources.
My Comment:
Although the nebulous term “natural resources” is used there is no definition of what “natural resources” is actually meant to be and there is no mention of mining activity, but there is for oil and gas. Again the terminology “compatible land use” is utilized to describe something nonspecific and no mention of mining activity. Therefore, due to the obvious ambiguity either this EIS is re-constructed or the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE is chosen.

Cumulative Impacts of the Proposed Action – Page ES-6
Cumulative impacts are “the incremental impact of the actions when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions regardless of what agency (Federal or non-Federal) or person undertakes such other actions (40 CFR 1508.7).
My Comment:
First – this EIS draft assumes that an average person intellectually grasps what is stated herein, which I find hard to believe. Furthermore, the summary on page ES-6 indicates that all the nuances (references to other Federal regulations NEPA & CFR) are understood by those who read this EIS, despite the probability that lawyers crafted the language used herein. Therefore, is it fair to the average person to be expected to know not only where to examine NEPA & CFR, but, to know the actual meaning of the language that sometimes results in lawyers debating the terminology?
Second – Strange that ranchers, rivers, animals, Historic trail and oil/gas are mentioned, but not a single word about mining? Is this because they are biased against mining? Or, maybe, the NMSA with this EIS intends to eliminate all potential mining in the visible surrounding area. Therefore, because the designers of this EIS are obviously intelligent and knowledgeable people the only conclusion I can draw is that mining was intentionally left out, thereby I can only assume that mining valuable/strategic minerals/metals won’t be allowed. Consequently, due to this grievous display of arrogance either this EIS is completely re-constructed to reflect the reality of valuable metals being present and accommodated within a new EIS or that the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE be the only valid option.

Historical, Architectural, Archaeological, and Cultural Resources – Page ES-10
The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and the measures contained within it would resolve these effects and reduce the impacts to a less than significant level.
My Comment:
I have asked for these MOA & MOU’s and all I get is the run-around. Where can I review these documents so that I can make informed comments?
Socioeconomics, Environmental Justice, and Children’s Environmental Health & Safety Risks – Page ES-12
The Proposed Action would not have any significant negative impacts to socioeconomics. There are no disproportionate high and adverse impacts to minority or low income populations expected from construction or operation. The potential environmental health impacts and safety risks from the construction and operation would not be expected to disproportionately affect children.
My comment:
When examining the current USA economic landscape where rising fuel costs, escalating food prices, plummeting real-estate values, mounting debt, bankruptcies and evaporating jobs, tourists staying home the idea of finding investors for municipal bonds seems a bit far fetched. Consequently, this EIS does not address the reality of the current economic situation nor does it provide insurance that the socioeconomic life of southern NM residents will be improved. Therefore, this EIS should not be acceptable until it addresses the current deteriorating financial reality.
In addition, the statementThe Proposed Action would not have any significant negative impacts to socioeconomicsI find to be ludicrous, because if mining and harvesting the PGMs with the newest technology is not allowed there will be an extremely serious socioeconomic impact upon not only residents of Sierra County, but upon the entire state.
What about the risk of thyroid troubles for local children and lactating mothers from the rocket gases are dangerous? This potential problem needs clarification before the FAA issues a license and the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE be selected.

Historical, Architectural, Archaeological, and Cultural Resources—Page ES-14
My Comment:
All land has historical characteristics if for no other reason than the land was present before humans. The concept of historical importance is based upon a perspective not shared by everyone and conjuring-up this terminology to allow or disallow any form of commercial enterprise is merely a way to control human activity and should be thrown in the garbage can for what it is – junk. In other words for the NMSA to be allowed to use the trail, so should everyone else, including all un-related commercial activity. This EIS fails to identify specifics and does not deserve acceptance in its current form.

Fish, Wildlife, and Plants – Page ES-15
My comment:
This section has multiple doors by which to escape or establish new guidelines that a mining company would not be permitted.  

Energy Supply and Natural Resources – Page ES-16
There are no expected impacts to energy supply and use or natural resources supply and availability from implementation of the Proposed Action. Since there are no potential impacts expected from the Proposed Action, there are no cumulative impacts anticipated either.
My Comment:
I don’t understand the basis of the analysis if this section is describing associated mineral exploration and harvesting, such as mining and oil/gas extraction on BLM lands near to the spaceport.
It appears to me that the NMSA is claiming that no valuable metals will be mined, which makes me ask – what type of analysis was utilized to make this conclusion? Did the NMSA conduct a geological & analysis of the rock formations on the state land or adjoining BLM land? If so, why has this detailed analysis not been made public? Clearly, based upon my multi-year research this statement is INVALID. Consequently, either a new EIS is required or the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE is to be chosen by the FAA.

Mitigation Measures – Page ES-16
The only resource area for which the impact from the Proposed Action would exceed the applicable threshold of significance is Historical,
My Comment:
This statement is either intentionally biased or based upon ignorance. If ignorance of the facts is how this statement has been chosen then the NMSA has not done sufficient homework to initiate this EIS. I have attempted to suggest to the NMSA that mining is a viable, but for some strange reason the NMSA never once asked me for any data regarding potential mining validity. Therefore, this EIS needs to be re-constructed reflecting reality or the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE must be invoked.

Mitigation Measures and Other Measures – Page ES-17
Providing busses for visitors and tourists, especially during the X Prize Cup event, and controlling vehicle use associated with Spaceport America activities and events within the limited developed land areas;
My Comment:
To me this statement is at best non-specific, because there is no definition of what “controlling vehicle use” actually means. For instance – does this mean that access to the general area outside the state land will be controlled, and if so does “controlling” mean that the NMSA or some political agency will not allow any vehicular traffic in the Jornada del Muerto? Regardless of the intent I suggest that clarification is made public before approval of this EIS or the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE is chosen.

Mitigation Measures and Other Measures – Page ES-17
Providing busses for visitors and tourists, especially during the X Prize Cup event, and controlling vehicle use associated with Spaceport America activities and events within the limited developed land areas;
My Comment:
It appears that the intent is to control how humans travel into the Jornada del Muerto, which I think is abhorrent and unconstitutional. Furthermore, again ambiguity reins supreme over why and how vehicle use will be allowed into the Jornada del Muerto. Therefore, either a new EIS is constructed that does not have all this ambiguity and spells out exactly and specifically what the NMSA intends to do with human and vehicle traffic in the Jornada del Muerto, or the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE is chosen.

Mitigation Measures and Other Measures – Page ES- 17
Developing a state management plan for those portions of the NHT located on State Trust Land;
Developing a Cultural Resource Management Plan to ensure long term protection of resources within the project boundaries;
My Comment:
Why hasn’t a state management plan already been completed prior to this EIS? Could it be that this state management plan will have ways listed to limit or eliminate human and vehicular traffic to and from the state-land? More deliberate ambiguity and thus this EIS should not be approved and the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE chosen.
What would a Cultural Resource Management Plan entail and contain? More deliberate ambiguity and this EIS should be totally scrapped and the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE chosen.

Mitigation Measures and Other Measures – Page ES-18
Developing public activities in coordination with El Camino Real International Heritage Center.
My Comment:
Why does this Heritage Center have more apparent rights than mining claim stakeholders?
To further show how the NMSA has chosen to disregard by not contacting and including mining claim stakeholders the “New Mexico Spaceport Authority Announces Formal Collaboration with Federal Agencies, Nonprofit Groups, Regarding El Camino Real
March 28, 2007
SANTA FE – The Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, and CARTA, the non-profit advocacy group for El Camino Real, have accepted an invitation from the New Mexico Spaceport Authority to collaborate on specific ways to protect and preserve the historic El Camino Real in the Jornada del Muerto and to maximize joint education and marketing programs, according to Rick Homans, Chairman of the NM Spaceport Authority.
The NM Spaceport Authority has already made specific proposals that will help to protect and preserve the trail and enhance the viability of the spaceport, Homans said.
These proposals include:
• a 20-mile no development zone that would be developed in conjunction with Sierra County, Dona Ana County, State Land Office, Bureau of Land Management, CARTA and private landowners;
• limiting vehicle traffic near El Camino Real and into the spaceport by providing visitor/welcome center and park-and-ride facilities in Hatch and Truth or Consequences;
• using the spaceport’s agreements with local ranchers and the lease with the State Land Office to limit future road easements and mineral exploration, and to ensure that area ranching operations stay viable and public lands are used for grazing;
• setting a future goal of putting underground a large segment of the massive 345-kv powerline that runs through the middle of the Jornada del Muerto;
• making a commitment to have a single entry point to the spaceport that would use an existing county road to cross El Camino Real.”
It should be obvious to anyone that the NMSA is intentionally disregarding mining claim stakeholder’s active interests in the Jornada del Muerto and surrounding adjacent Public Lands. Therefore, a new EIS must be constructed that brings-in all stakeholders who could also be part of the over-all planning process. If this cannot or will not be done then the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE is the only option.
To further illustrate the intentions of the NMSA by completely and totally disregarding mining claim stakeholders the following is introduced:
NMSA Minutes 1-31-08
Steve Landeene shared a draft of the Spaceport America Vision, which emphasizes dedication to enhancing customer/partner experience. Mr. Landeene also reviewed Spaceport America’s objectives which included:
Foster economic and community development through spaceport related activities Develop a World Class Enterprise.
Instill organizational flexibility to accommodate customer needs safely.
Symbiotic relationship with the El Camino Real Trail.
Environmental leadership.

Clearly, the new officer of NMSA is promoting a Symbiotic relationship with the El Camino Real Trail, while purposely eliminating mining claim stakeholder’s interests. This blatant arrogance suggests not only elitism, but a callous disregard to the mining of metals that this country desperately depends upon. I emphatically say again that this EIS requires a complete re-construction and/or utilizing the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE.

Page – ES-20
Issuing a Launch Site Operator License to NMSA for Spaceport America would not result in substantial induced impacts. Although the Proposed Action would result in beneficial economic impacts to the region by supporting and facilitating limited growth, it would not induce growth.
There are no known specific future development activities that would be dependent on the Proposed Action. Spaceport America would be constructed in a rural area with very sparse population, and would co-exist with the local ranching economy. Economic activity and regional land use in the region would not change due to the implementation of the Proposed Action.
My Comment:
The 1st paragraph clearly states that growth is not to be a part of the socioeconomic climate that would make everyone’s lives enriched.      
The 2nd paragraph indicates that the NMSA is unaware of any known specific future development activities, which clearly indicates the complete lack of reaching-out to the mining claim stakeholders who might know something that the NMSA obviously did not want to become aware of. Therefore, this type of behavior by the NMSA demonstrates not only a bias against mining activity but an unspoken, but not so quite agenda that only benefits what the long-term objectives of the NMSA may be. Therefore, the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE can be the only suitable action.
With my previous statement(s) in mind I am now declaring that the entire area of the  spaceport and most the lands as far as the eye can see in all directions from proposed spaceport hosts an amazing mineral deposition that will rival Russia and S. African PGM mining and thus this is destined to become a world class act.

E.1.4 Metallic Ore Deposits – Page E-4
The known ore deposits of Sierra County are confined entirely to the mountainous areas (Harley, 1934). Gold, silver, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, manganese, tungsten, iron, vanadium, fluorite, and barite are present in the Caballo Mountains west of the proposed site. Of these, fluorite, barite, manganese, gold, molybdenum, copper, and vanadium have been produced in economic quantities (Seager and Mack, 2003).
Between 1910 and 1911, the Vanadium Mines Company operated a vanadium leaching plant at Cutter (located approximately 4.5 miles northwest of the proposed Spaceport America) to process vanadium mined from the Caballo Mountains (Palomas Gap) area. The plant was equipped with 10 acid-leach tanks, two evaporating furnaces, and one calcining furnace. However, the plant failed after one year due to an inefficient leaching process (Eveleth, 1986).
Gold placer deposits are present in arroyos, fans, and alluvium shed from the Caballo Mountains (Seager and Mack, 2003), and several claims existed for areas near the western margin of the proposed Spaceport America. None of these claims are active or valid (Merrill, 2007).
Metallic ore deposits have not been documented to occur within the boundary of the proposed Spaceport America.
My Comment:
It is correct that no present mining exists in the Jornada and Caballo Mts, nor has there been any likely ore deposits documented, but this sad fact is due to the not so subtle hostility towards mineral exploration/mining displayed by the State and environmental NGO’s. In fact, this whole EIS also quietly shouts its contempt for mineral extraction as if mining is some-kind of evil, when, in fact mining the metals is what has and continues to benefit humanity and build civilizations. Having said this, for the NMSA to presume that valuable metal deposits are not present near the actual spaceport and adjacent lands in the Jornada is at best either wishful thinking or blatant disregard for the overall welfare of the residents of New Mexico and specifically those of Sierra County. As I have previously mentioned – there is no public record I am aware of that the NMSA conducted a thorough examination of the rock formations anywhere within visible view of the proposed spaceport. Thus, it is at a minimum poor and unscientific performance by the NMSA to suggest or declare that valuable metal deposition(s) are not present. I can say this because I have found considerable evidence that the precious metals Os, Ru, Rh, Tl & Re are present in various formations appear to exist within the visible limits of the proposed spaceport. The question that anyone should be asking is why is the NMSA so dead set against mining? Could it be that these and other valuable metals are known to exist and want to drive all the people including mining claim stakeholders out of the Caballo Mts and the Jornada with a variety of suppositions and green biased regulations? The only reasonable action would be to completely overhaul this EIS with mining claim owners participation or the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE be implemented.


E.2 Environmental Consequences – Page E-4
The area has been explored for geothermal resources, oil and gas, coal, metallic minerals, and construction minerals. There currently are no commercial prospects or production of mineral resources within the proposed Spaceport America boundaries (Merrill, 2007). The Proposed Action, Alternative 1, and Alternative 2 would not result in significant impacts to mineral resources because the proposed Spaceport America site either has very limited mineral resources, or, in the case of construction materials, there are large alternate sources off-site. The No Action Alternative also would not impact mineral resources or the development thereof. However, because the proposed Project site would not be developed as a commercial spaceport, development of construction material resources could occur under this alternative.
My comment:
No doubt that the “area” was explored for metallic minerals, but did the NMSA hire “experts” to explore and conduct an analysis of the rocks from the exploration of the proposed spaceport and/or Jornada surrounding the proposed spaceport. However, based upon my discoveries this was not done and certainly not made public prior to this EIS.
Recently (7-7-08), rock samples were collected from in-situ formations in the Jornada del Muerto not very far from the proposed spaceport. The rock samples were analyzed (7-16-08) with the Vreeland (Spectrex) Spectroscope showing evidence that the PGMs were present. The Vreeland spectroscope (see attached images) is not the fanciest or most expensive scientific instrument, but, I used 99+% metal standards to prove its accuracy to provide verifiable evidence that valuable ore deposition has occurred and is in need of serious professional geological exploration as soon as possible. Consequently, I can only conclude that the NMSA has not adequately prepared this EIS and thus should be required to re-examine all their mineralogical statements/claims in another EIS, of course with local mining claim stakeholder participating. Until a new EIS is prepared and submitted for public review/comments the only logical course of action is the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE.

1.3.2 Role of the Cooperating Agencies – page 1-3
The FAA entered into Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) with each of these cooperating agencies.
My Comment:
  I have asked to see such documentation, but have always received the run-around. I have always felt and believed that the people, particularly the mining claim stakeholders, were never asked to participate in such MOA’s or MOU’s. Therefore, this whole process has been initiated without public involvement and should be postponed till the public and current stakeholders can be a part of the proceeding that are not made easily available.
So, with this said, where can these MOA’s be accessed by me and/or the public?

1.4 Purpose and Need – page 1-3
The need for the Project proposed by NMSA is to establish a long-term source of economic development in southern New Mexico that is based on high technology and can be used to develop educational opportunities.
My Comment:
This need for the project being based upon a long-term source of economic development can also be achieved either separately or simultaneously regarding valuable and strategic metals/mineral resources that only modern day technology will allow exploitation of. Therefore, the area where the spaceport is proposed to be located is not necessarily a sole means of providing a brighter economic and educational future for New Mexico and particularly southern NM.

These activities are consistent with the objectives of the FAA’s mission to encourage, facilitate, and promote commercial launch and reentry activities by the private sector.
My Comment:   
Although the FAA may find these activities consistent with objectives, the BLM has objectives to protect this Nation’s vital strategic metals needs and in my opinion granting a license would be premature because all the facts that technology has brought into view has not been examined. Therefore, to grant a license or approve the EIS could be robbing not only the present generation of Americans, but future generations of a better and safer life.

1.6 Other Permits and Approvals – page 1-5
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through consultation under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, has concurred with the FAA’s determination that the proposed
Project “is not likely to jeopardize” any listed species
.
My Comment:
Based upon the above words, desert big-horn sheep are not sensitive to noise made by the blasting of rocket engines, and therefore would not be bothered by any exploration and subsequent mining activity.

2.1.3.1 Transport of Launch Vehicles to the Assembly or Staging Areas – page 2-25

2.1.3.2 Transport and Storage of Rocket Propellants and Other Fuels – page 2-25
LVs and LV components and payloads would arrive at Spaceport America by heavy truck (tractor-trailers) or airplane.
My Comment:  
Based upon the project number of launches the roads would be used constantly to transport supplies and launch vehicles. Therefore, with this amount of projected commercial traffic disturbance in the area of the BLM managed lands to and from the proposed spaceport any other commercial activity, particularly mining related trucks and equipment would also be acceptable to the local environment relating to wildlife, air quality, etc.. Consequently, if the BLM and the state have determined that this amount of human activity and presence is not disruptive then an equal amount of mining activity would not be an adverse co-commercial endeavor. If any additional traffic disturbance was not acceptable then why does the NMSA state such or create mitigating allowances for such additional traffic? Hopefully, their plans are not to exclude traffic on these current county roads into the Jornada from state Hwy 51?

2.1.3.3 Launch, Landing, and Recovery of Vehicles – page 2-26
In the event that a LV lands, or has the potential to land, on BLM land, a set of appropriate procedures would be developed and implemented, which meet applicable requirements or restrictions of:
• NMSA operational policies and procedures; and
• BLM regulations or policies, and regulations or policies of other affected Federal or state agencies.

My Comment:
This event is not an IF but a when, so as thorough as the state is, particularly when demanding that anyone else, especially miners must comply to the states preconceived EIS standards – why is it ok to develop and implement procedures and regulations after the fact? NMSA should not be allowed to utilize this rampant form of ambiguity. Thus, this EIS should be re-examined, redone or the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE utilized.

Solid propellant (e.g., polybutadiene matrix with acrylonitrile oxidizer and powdered aluminum) – Page 2-27
My Comment:
Health effects of acrylonitrile oxidizer according to the CDC.
www.atsdr.cdc.gov/MHMI/mmg125.html#bookmark02

Exhibit 2-22. Estimated Number of Horizontal Launches from Spaceport America Per Year – page 2-29
Estimated Number of Licensed Vertical Launches – page 2-33
My Comment:
Based upon this chart’s projected launches of concept vehicle H1 & H2 building and operating this site is not a justified expense. Whereas concept 3 vehicle indicates that on average that after 2010 there will be a flight each day. Thus, using more acrylonitrile oxidizer would raise the level of danger for area residents and farm produce.
My main concern is that when these expected flights begin the spaceport authority along with the federal, state, wilderness, trail and corridor agencies/organizations will find numerous ways to justify closing the surrounding BLM lands to mineral/metal prospectors and miners. For the moment there is no direct statement that this is the plan, but sufficient circumstantial data exists that this is the long-term plan and therefore this EIS does not justify a license from the FAA unless appropriate safeguards are put in place to ensure that the mining community have unrestricted access to the BLM land(s) North, South and West of the proposed spaceport facility.

2.2 Alternatives to the Proposed Action – page 2-36
In deciding which alternatives to consider, the FAA must look carefully at the factors relevant to the definition of purpose for the action, taking into account the needs and goals of the applicant. The FAA’s consideration of alternatives may give substantial weight to the preferences of the applicant in the siting and design of the Project. The FAA always considers the views of Congress, expressed in the agency’s statutory authorization to act, as well as in other pertinent congressional directives.
My Comment:    
Because the FAA looks carefully at definition of purpose I want to bring to the FAA’s attention that Congress created the 1872 Mining Act, mandating the seeking and harvesting of locatable minerals/metals. These minerals/metals, like oil make this nation the greatest civilization known to man. Thus, it is not in the strategic interest of the USA to be held hostage to foreign mineral holdings. Therefore, I submit that the existence of vital strategic elements be ascertained before accepting this EIS in its current unfriendly mining format.
Read what said in this 1985 report about the PGM’s that I know are present in the Jornada and Caballo Mts.
http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/1985/09/30/66467/index.htm
Nothing has changed since the above news story, in fact America’s need for strategic metals has increased while at same time America is more reliant upon politically unstable foreign natural sources (metals).
The current mindset in Congress is to become energy sef-sufficient and without an abundant inexpensive source of these metals (PGMs) the situation will only worsen. So, it would seem prudent for the FAA, NMSLO and NMSA to scrap this EIS and start over crafting a EIS reflecting all of America’s urgent needs.

2.1.3.3 Launch, Landing, and Recovery of Vehicles – page 2-26
In the event that a LV lands, or has the potential to land, on BLM land, a set of appropriate procedures would be developed and implemented, which meet applicable requirements or restrictions of:
My Comment:
To the above vague open ended statement I say – As long as there are no restrictions placed upon mineral exploration and mining activities.

2.4.3 Alternative Site Layouts – page 2-40
In addition, NMSA addressed concerns with administrative actions, including:
• Negotiated an agreement with New Mexico State Land Office (NMSLO) to waive NMSLO’s rights to develop mineral rights and to grant easements on the approximately
26 square miles that Spaceport America is leasing;
My Comment:
To the best of my knowledge the American people were never permitted to view  this waiver of mineral rights, and the whole spaceport issue has been an exercise of intentional secrecy. If the State Land Office and the NMSA had done proper due diligence regarding the potential of valuable metals being present I wonder how legitimate waiving NMSLO’s right to develop in-situ metals? In addition, the NMSA partially sold the people on taxing themselves for needed jobs and more high-tek schooling. If the NMSLO & the NMSA had done their mandated jobs to begin with instead of after the fact the people would have a lot more to gain without troubling themselves with more taxes and debt burdens. As far as I am concerned the NMSA acted irresponsibly by not communicating with and allowing the local mining claim owners a voice into the EIS planning. If the NMSA would have tried to talk with me, even after I alluded to the fact that discoveries were forth-coming the NMSA could have resolved some dilemmas I believe they now face. It is my hope that the FAA will recognize how deficient this EIS is in representing the best interests of the people and national security by not licensing the proposed spaceport in its current EIS format.
Out of curiosity I sent (3-10-07) an email to the NMSLO about using a rocket engine exhaust to dry surface dirt for capturing placer metals (Au) that may reside on NMSLO controlled land. Eventually (3-17-07) I was told that I’d have to contact EMNRD, which I did, but have never received a reply. Personally, I have little doubt that if I made a formal application using rocket engine exhaust to dry dirt I would be rejected quicker than a normal mining applicant.

2.4.3 Alternative Site Layouts – page 2-40
In addition, NMSA addressed concerns with administrative actions, including:
• Negotiated an agreement with New Mexico State Land Office (NMSLO) to waive NMSLO’s rights to develop mineral rights and to grant easements on the approximately
26 square miles that Spaceport America is leasing;
• Negotiated an agreement with the private landowners
My Comment:  
To my knowledge, despit that I contacted  not once has the NMSA attempted to contacted mining claim owners in the general area for their stakeholder input/comments. As I have said previously – I find this type of due diligence on the part of NMSA frightening.

3. AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT

3.1.1 Definition and Description— page 3-1
Land use is interconnected with most of the other resource areas considered in a NEPA document. The EPA defines land use as…“the way land is developed and used in terms of the kinds of anthropogenic activities that occur” (EPA, 2007). Land use refers to the use of land for economic production; for residential, recreational or other purposes; and for natural or cultural resource protection. Related to land use is the issue of property ownership and management.
My Comment:
I realize that the definition for this EIS could be considered appropriate. Nevertheless, there are other equally legal and important definitions and to utilize only the above seems inappropriately concealing an unspoken agenda.
While I do not disagree with legalistic explanations/interpretations of “land use” there is in my belief a much better description that is not often shared in the secular world, but nonetheless is more valid than any terminology man can devise, to be found in the Bible.
I believe that YHVH (God of the Torah and Christian Bible) placed man on the land to have dominion over the environment and therefore man is part of, with, in and IS the environment, which is none other than the Mineral Kingdom. This mineral Kingdom is the land and from the land comes all things, including water and air. So, if the FAA grants (based upon this EIS format) a license to the NMSA, I fear the NMSA will in-turn create its own set of rules to govern the land with, and it is likely that the NMSA will disregard Biblical scripture, where is says— Genesis 1: let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, And in Gen 1-28 subdue it.

3.1.2 Regulatory Setting

3.1.2.1 Local – page 3-1
My Comment:
I hope, despite the behind the scenes political pressure that Sierra County has the common sense to not adopt a more regulatory land use plan than the one which is currently in force, because to plan more only means more lost freedoms, as well as higher tax rates to support the enforcement of new regulations that inevitably follow regulatory planning
.

Bureau of Land Management Planning Page 3-3
Recognizes the need for domestic sources of minerals, food, timber, and fiber from the public lands.
My Comment:
This was the last item mentioned and does a poor job at that, as if intentional.

Page 4-4
The management of lands and resources administered by the BLM in the areas surrounding the proposed Spaceport America are guided by two resource management plans (RMPs) and a variety of plan amendments addressing specific resources or issues such as fluid mineral leasing,
National Trail protection, or military use. The White Sands Resource Area RMP (BLM, 1985) includes the public lands in Sierra and Otero Counties, NM. The proposed Spaceport America would be located entirely on State Trust Land in Sierra County, adjacent to BLM-administered lands that are within the White Sands Resource Area. The Mimbres Resource Area RMP (BLM, 1985) includes the public lands in Doña Ana, Grant, Luna, and Hidalgo Counties, NM. The ElCamino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP) (NPS and BLM, 2004b) amends these two RMPs and is very relevant to the proposedSpaceport America site. Other important BLM land management issues include grazing, grassland habitat restoration, and wildlife conservation. Sections of these BLM planning documents are referenced elsewhere in this EIS as appropriate.
The BLM is currently preparing a combined RMP revision for Sierra and Otero Counties and a plan amendment for Doña Ana County to update these plans and policies and to address new issues and resource conditions affected by increased population growth and use of public land and the urban-rural interface. The record of decision for the Tri-Counties RMPs/EIS is not expected before 2009.
My Comment:    
This whole section I find to be a callous disregard to the minerals, as if the minerals or especially the mining claim owners have some kind of disease. Of course the rights of prospectors and mining claimants are nasty to those who want to destroy this time honored endeavor of enriching the lives of the common man/woman. Furthermore, mining claimants still have some rights protected by the 1872 Mining Act, but there are political forces hell-bent on destroying this last vestige of experiencing the American dream that American people have long held sacrosanct.
I think it is appalling that the crafters of this EIS give more credence to a so-called historic trail than to the needs of the American people and Mining Claim owners.

National Trails System Act – Page 3-6
In anticipation that grazing at some locations would be impractical once construction and flights begin, NMSA, the ranchers, NMSLO, and BLM are developing the ranch/allotment management plan to allow for the co-existence of spaceport and ranching operations. Continuation of grazing on Federal grazing allotments, or some other economic use consistent with the proposed Spaceport America use and the multiple use policies of BLM, would be determined.
My Comment:
Another example of how the NMSA is working with other, while leaving the mining claim owner out of the information loop.

3.1.4.4 Economic Land Use – page 3-7
Although numerous leasable, locatable, and salable minerals claims have been explored in the past, there are no patented mineral lands or active mining claims within the proposed boundary of Spaceport America or the immediately adjacent lands. Some minerals claims on BLM administered land several miles to the south have been active as recently as 1992. Much of the area has been leased for drilling and seismic exploration, but all oil and gas leases had expired by 1991. The last active geothermal lease expired in 1975. The agreements between NMSA and the NMSLO include payments to the NMSLO in lieu of rights to develop mineral rights on NMSLO lands. A more comprehensive look at mineral resources is presented in Appendix E.
My. Comment:
This EIS fails to specifically define what is meant by the words “immediately adjacent lands”? Does immediate mean 1, 10 or the visual view miles west of the proposed spaceport area? Seems to me that the words “immediately adjacent lands” have been purposely dipped into the ambiguity soup to stop the average reader from comprehending the contents.

National Trails System Act – page 3-4
The National Trails System Act of 1968 (16 U.S.C. 241-1251) created a national system of trails for recreation and preservation of linear resources. Public Law 106-307 amended the National Trails System Act to designate El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (Royal Road of the Interior) as a NHT. The Trail passes through portions of the proposed Spaceport America location. The NHT may also be a Section 4(f) property and is discussed in Section 3.2.
My Comment:
Why does this EIS use the word “may” for 4(f) designation? Do they not know? In my opinion this “Royal Road of the Interior” is oxymoronic designed to remove public land from public use. And, it’s ironic that this same NHT that introduced commerce is now becoming a trail removing commercial opportunity.

3.1.4.2 Land Ownership – page 3-5
The NMSA has secured long term access for Spaceport America through agreements with the NMSLO, Sierra County, and two private ranch operations.
My Comment
Although it is probable that the NMSA contacted the Sierra County Commissioners with this news, to my knowledge the general public in Sierra County was not told. Why didn’t the Sierra County Commissioners who are charged with the responsibility of knowing and looking after the people’s business issues or the NMSA not make it a point to explain to the local residents the possible consequences of what was being given away?

Page 3-5 and con’t on page 3-6
In addition to the base rent, which will be adjusted in time, the NMSLO will also receive payments in lieu of rights to develop mineral rights or to construct roads or grant other easements that might impair the operation of the spaceport.
My Comment:  
The question I never saw answered nor allowed to be considered by the people (voters), but apparently agreed upon between county commissioners and NMSA is – will these in lieu payments reflect a reasonable compensation to the state/county/schools for the valuable minerals that should have been known to exist? Maybe the NMSA and other state agencies along with a few major mining companies have known for years that this area of Sierra County has a potential world class mining act at their door steps, which has been taken away from the people? Were the apparent negotiations between NMSLO & NMSA representative of realistic value of the minerals now and in the future, or was no consideration given for the potential? If not, then why didn’t the state that supposedly has the best interests of the people at heart and/or mind do any exploration drilling to confirm or deny that valuable minerals were not contained beneath the proposed spaceport area that could or would not equal in lieu payments?

Page 3-6
A ranch/allotment management plan is in development by NMSA, the ranchers, NMSLO, and BLM in order to allow the ranchers to continue to graze State Trust lands and adjacent BLM lands under the terms of their existing grazing permits.
My Comment:
Why weren’t the same rights extended to local mining claim owners of protecting their monetary interests in their past and future efforts and potential exploitable value of the minerals on/in their mining claims, because it appears that the over-all intention of the NMSA and the El Camino Real Trail organization objective is to eliminate any/all (including mining) in the Jornada and within a so-called multiple mile viewable buffer zone?

Page 3-6
The goal of these agreements and the plan is to identify specific range management practices necessary and appropriate for co-existence of spaceport and ranching operations and to mitigate potential impacts to wildlife and wildlife habitat. These practices may include such things as: range improvement projects; range fire prevention and management; location of fencing, cattle guards, or other security and control features; and identification of ground hazard areas within existing allotments. The process would be dynamic and ongoing, with modifications as necessary to adapt to changes either in spaceport operations or ranching practices.
My Comment:
What a wonderful goal that just happened to exclude ming claim stakeholders. Mining Claim owners should have been granted similar compensation, but it appears that the NMSA felt that mining claim stakeholders were expendable?

3.1.4.4 Economic Land Use – page 3-6 
Continuation of grazing on Federal grazing allotments, or some other economic use consistent with the proposed Spaceport America use and the multiple use policies of BLM, would be determined.
My Comment: 
Obviously, this whole sentence and specifically the words “consistent & be determined” indicates there are unmentioned plans  that will become realities at a later date. This type of planning is an apparent direct threat against any activity that the NMSA deems unfit (commercial mining activity) to coexist within the multiple use policy of BLM land(s). This bold statement needs bold clarification instead of the implied threat before any acceptance of this EIS and a FAA license. Hopefully, this EIS will be found unacceptable by the FAA. Therefore, I suggest that the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE be implemented till a new EIS is constructed that reflects specifics and the interests of mining claim stakeholders.

Page 3-7
Although numerous leasable, locatable, and salable minerals claims have been explored in the past, there are no patented mineral lands or active mining claims within the proposed boundary of Spaceport America or the immediately adjacent lands. Some minerals claims on BLM administered land several miles to the south have been active as recently as 1992. Much of the area has been leased for drilling and seismic exploration, but all oil and gas leases had expired by 1991. The last active geothermal lease expired in 1975. The agreements between NMSA and the NMSLO include payments to the NMSLO in lieu of rights to develop mineral rights on NMSLO lands. A more comprehensive look at mineral resources is presented in Appendix E.
My Comment:
Because this is the only time that the terminology “proposed boundary” and “immediately adjacent lands” is used only once in the entire EIS I am forced to ask – what exactly is meant by “proposed boundary” and “immediately adjacent lands” ? Are these peculiar, unspecified terms going to be expanded upon sometime in the future? It seems rather clear that the NMSA has an agenda not being adequately defined in this EIS that causes me considerable mental anguish, because all the circumstantial evidence points to the elimination of the mining claim owner who has not been given a voice in the over-all process of this proposed spaceport and this EIS.

El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail – page 3-8
Specific policies and actions that are relevant to the proposed Spaceport America include a 5-mile visual impact zone around the Trail and proposed interpretive sites.
My Comment:
Assuming that the proposed spaceport becomes licensed and based upon the this page 3-8 nomenclature – any other potential commercial enterprise that may be located within visual range would also be afforded the same exemptions to operate independent of what may occur regarding this trail’s sphere of political influence. If this is not the case the  spaceport licensing would represent a distortion of what a commercial enterprise is, whether operated by the state, individual or large corporation. Of course, I am specifically stating such in regards to the time honored, historic use of the land—mining—that various agencies and NGO’s would like to see abolished in a free America.

3.2.2.2 National Trails System Act, Section 7(g) – page 3-10
Section 7(g), 16 U.S.C. 1242(g), of the National Trails System Act (as amended through P.L. 95-625)
My Comment:
After reading this whole section I remain confused as to the purpose of this 3.2.2.2 being a part of this EIS. However, recognizing that there is or must be a specific reason for stating what is contained in this section of the EIS I am suspicious as to the potential intent of those who placed this section at this EIS juncture. For instance – I suspect that the NMSA is going to use this particular section (Department of Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. 303[f])) to curtail, limit or eliminate any/all vehicular traffic on any of the gravel roads in the Jornada del Muerto that may be within visual range of the spaceport under the pretense of some obscure or ambiguous The National Trails System Act, at 16 U.S.C. § 1242(a)(3) l (The El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail CMP/EIS) interpretation within the 4(f). If the spaceport is granted a license from the FAA, then the spaceport ought to also specifically state/define their intentions of future actions, as well as make specific determinations that all commercial enterprises, particularly mining activity are just as valid in this general area as the spaceport is. If the NMSA is unwilling to so define their intentions before obtaining a FAA license then the FAA should not issue a license on the grounds of preferential treatment at the exclusion of just as important if not more important mining related activities. The NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE is the only reasonable option.

3.2.3 Region of Influence – page 3-11
The ROI for prime and unique farmland would include the direct disturbance area of any designated farmland or indirect or secondary effects on other off-site farmland that would result from the Federal action.
My Comment:
I find this section confusing and ambiguous, which makes me suspicious as to whether or not this section is incorporated to get around the probability the Rocket gasses would settle upon the food crops, which would be eaten by the general population and based upon the CDC’s www site could, over time cause people and animals to become ill.

3.3 Noise – pages 3-13 through 3-16
My Comment:
Perhaps I overlooked or could not comprehend this section, because I could not find what the noise level was anticipated to be once rockets began launching every day.

3.4 Visual Resources and Light Emissions

3.4.4.1 VRM Classifications – page 3-21
Spaceport America would be developed on State-owned land and would not be governed by BLM VRM objectives on acceptable visual change. However, by agreement among the FAA, BLM, and NPS, the VRM classes and objectives are used here in describing the resource and are treated as a reference point for assessing impacts
.
My Comment:
As far as I am aware these agreements were not made public to mining claim stakeholders.  Because the NMSA and the BLM saw fit to bypass mining claim stakeholders by granting what appears to be special treatment, then mining claim owners should have the same rights and if not this EIS should not be found acceptable.

3.4.4.2 Existing and Updated Inventory Description – page 3-21
Foothills of the Caballo Mtns Moderately distinctive
My comment:
Not only do I find this designation offensive, but is probably purposely planned so that future mining in the general area would have considerable difficulty in developing. If this designation was done during the same time frame that the spaceport was officially announced with I-25 road signs then this designation becomes all the more suspicious as to why this was done. This EIS ought to have designated when and why the foothills of the Caballo Mts was designated “moderately distinctive”.

3.5.4.6 El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail – page 3-39

Trail Management: Historic Corridor Management Plan page 3-42
My Comment:
In my opinion this NHT and Corridor Management Plan are ultimately designed to eliminate the public, including politically non-connected small mining claim stakeholders from ever developing their mining claims. The NMSA should have been completely transparent as to the long-term objectives. Therefore this EIS does not deserve the reward of a FAA license.

3.6 Air Quality – page 3-46

3.6.2.5 General Conformity – page 3-50
The General Conformity Rule, promulgated by the EPA at 40 CFR Parts 51 and 93, requires that the Federal government may not engage, support, or provide financial assistance for permit or license, or approve any activity that fails to conform to the State Implementation Plan (SIP).
My Comment:
I recognize that baseline standards may have been set, but I cannot locate exactly how much of the emitted gasses from these rockets at the projected number of flights after construction of infrastructure will actually affect air quality. Obviously, it will not be the same as a so-called baseline. Plus, I see a bunch of fancy words, such as:  promulgated within attainment, nonattainment and maintenance areas that somehow are within state guideline maximums if I read this entire section correctly.
The current NM governor does not want more CO2 emmitted by his own initiatives, yet he wants these rockets promulgating (dumping/spreading) a various brew to be exhausted by rocket engines that will be diluted in the atmosphere and settle upon plants and soil over a wide area. If a mining company tried to do this same thing as exhibited herein I’d bet that an EIS would fail. Although there may not be 2 sets of standards publically, there ought to be in this clean air section a specific amount of each gas each projected rocker engine will emit and then added up to reflect a daily or yearly total so that the people can intelligently make an informed comment instead of having to bob and weave through this tangled web of words that only a lawyer could have put together to fight over the meaning a year or 2 from now. This EIS should be trashed and a new one constructed that allows the people to understand what will eventually occur. Therefore the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE should be the choice.

In addition to the preceding according to FAA Order 1050.1E found at: www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/orders_notices/media/ALL1050-1E.pdf are:13.1 REQUIREMENTS - 13.1a. and 13.1b., which ought to be read to understand why it’s important that I have included the www site.

3.6.4.3 Site Air Quality – Page 3-53 
It is highly unlikely that any of the above sources would result in nonattainment of criteria pollutant standards at the proposed Spaceport America. In the proposed Spaceport America area, current vehicular traffic on unpaved roads is as low as 20 vehicles per day.
My Comment:
I am unsure what the purpose of trying to establish nonattainment standards by stressing current vehicular traffic to base the future upon? If the thousands of tourists arrive at or around the spaceport was sold by NMSA to the voters for economic reasons then it is obvious that nonattainment will be an issue. Therefore, because of my suspicious nature and the hints flying around this last year I presume that the state will somehow manage to curtail or eliminate all vehicular traffic in the Jornada del Muerto.
The NMSA has not publically stated this likely a reality, but there is sufficient evidence that both the NMSA in combination with El Camino Real (NHT) will demand curtailment of tourism under the premise that tourists will damage the pristine qualities of the area, which in my opinion is a bunch of hog-wash. Furthermore, I strongly suspect that the NMSA and the NGO for the El Camino Real will also say that no mining activity, can go on in the general area, which would include trucks.. Consequently, this supposedly clean air section is not only resting upon unspoken assumptions and implied threats to future tourism and mining this section alone ought to be enough to disqualify a favorable decision of this EIS. Consequently, if Americans cannot come to this area of the Jornada del Muerto without being stopped by state police, BLM rangers, sheriffs, or special security agents then the agenda of the NMSA is at best questionable and needs long-term defining. Therefore, due to the constant unspecified cryptic terminologies used this EIS should not be found acceptable and the NO ACTION ALTERNATICE implemented.

3.7 Water Quality, Wetlands, Wild and Scenic Rivers, Coastal Resources, and Floodplains

3.7.1 Definition and Description – 3-53
The water resources to be considered in this EIS are those related to ephemeral surface water (such as arroyos, draws, and other drainages that contain water only during and after precipitation events), floodplains, and ground water.
My Comment:
I have witnessed on several occasions flash floods in the Joranda del Muerto, some of which were fascinating to behold or just plain scary. Tremendous quantities of water can and does gather quickly, which can wash away and destroy a car in a few minutes. A lot of this water that begins near the south end of the Caballo mountains washes south, east and north, and a lot of this water empties west through Apache canyon/gap and Polomas gap, ultimately emptying in the Rio Grande River. Therefore, the monsoons in the Jornada will carry whatever contaminates that are generated by rocket exhaust that settles upon the land into the Rio Grande River. Consequently these rocket exhaust contaminates will not only affect fish but the wildlife, livestock and the farms from Arrey, NM to Las Cruces, El Paso all the way down to Bownsville, TX. Therefore, because this Rio Grande water that is used by both the USA and Mexican farmers the food crops will disseminate these contaminates world wide. Therefore, this whole section on water quality requires considerable specific SIP explanation before this EIS is approved. The NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE is the only logical choice till Congress and/or EPA rules on the toxicity of the Rocket Exhaust contaminates.

3.7.2.1 Surface Water and Floodplains – Page 3-54

3.7.2.2 Ground Water – Page 3-54
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System storm water program, as authorized in Section 402 of the Clean Water Act,
My Comment:
The question becomes—How long will it take for the rocket engine exhaust chemicals to infiltrate the ground water (Aquifers & Rio Grande River)? The NM Governor has requested that no oil/gas drilling be permitted in Otero and Sierra Counties due to the possibility that these activities MIGHT contaminate ground water. Therefore, how can this EIS be justified to be found acceptable and a license issued to possibly pollute the area ground water and River? Clearly, this EIS is not specific enough and needs clarification based upon how the state treats mineral exploration (oil/gas & metal mining). Consequently the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE should be invoked till these questions are adequately dealt with.
Below is an interesting news article that coincides amazingly well with the biased point of view against the fundamental American ideal that freedom and liberty is paramount. The American people want commodities, food, metals and gas/oil at considerably lower prices, yet political forces seem to want American’s to be poor by being forced to pay more and at same enrich foreigners. By reading this recent news article it ought to be clear that bureaucracies’ could care less what the American people want or need. In addition this article describes how the NM Dept of Game and Fish still believes that human activity is bad and must be eliminated, which means no natural resource production. Also apply this news article at Sonic Boom Impacts at the Spaceport – page 4-17
http://www.lcsun-news.com/ci_8780976
NM officials protest upcoming BLM oil and gas lease sale By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN Associated Press Writer, Article Launched: 04/02/2008 05:28:19 AM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and conservationists are protesting the Bureau of Land Management's upcoming oil and gas lease sale, saying the federal agency should reconsider nearly half of the parcels up for bid because of potential impacts on wildlife and their habitats.
The BLM is offering dozens of parcels covering thousands of acres in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma as part of the agency's quarterly sale on April 16. Protests over the planned sale were due Tuesday afternoon.
The Department of Game and Fish is particularly concerned about 49 parcels in southeastern New Mexico, the Caballo Mountains of Sierra County and an area along the New Mexico-Arizona border.
Game and Fish director Bruce Thompson said Tuesday the protest is aimed at getting the BLM to take into account the state's comprehensive wildlife conservation strategy, which identifies key habitats and species of concern, when approving parcels for lease.
"There is no apparent urgency associated with any of the proposed leases," Thompson said in a letter to the BLM. "There is adequate time to engage in more productive review and collaboration between BLM and (Game and Fish) to assess parcels like these with respect to more recent information available."
It was only recently that a survey by state biologists turned up two dozen endangered desert bighorn sheep living in the Caballo Mountains. More than 30 of the protested parcels are adjacent to the mountain range.
However, concern over the Sierra County parcels became moot late Tuesday when BLM state director Linda Rundell decided that no parcels in Sierra or Otero counties would be offered during the sale because the agency's environmental impact statement for the two counties is involved in litigation.
"We can now say without question that these are withdrawn until such a time that the EIS appeal is resolved," said Donna Hummel, a BLM spokeswoman.
The planned lease sale also has drawn criticism from the national nonprofit Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. The group filed its protest Tuesday, citing concerns over the bighorn sheep.
Oscar Simpson, conservation chair of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, said his group and other sportsmen would sign on to the protest.
Simpson, who also is a member of the state Game Commission, said the bighorn herd in the Caballos is a sign that the species is recovering. Allowing oil and gas development in the area would be "bad advice," he said.
"We think we need to do everything we can to make sure that we understand the area good enough to make sure that if there is oil and gas development in the area, it's got a big enough buffer zone and it won't impact this herd or its migratory paths," Simpson said.
Elise Goldstein, a bighorn sheep biologist with Game and Fish, said the parcels initially proposed for lease were close to sheep habitat and could have interrupted potential migration paths that ensure the species' genetic diversity.
"To me that's the biggest concern, if you start building all kinds of stuff out there you're just basically putting up a lot of obstacles to that migration route," Goldstein said.
In addition to the sheep, the Game and Fish protest cites concerns over key habitats and species of concern in southeastern New Mexico and Catron County. The protest also argues that oil and gas drilling near the Bottomless Lakes State Park could impact the aquifer as well as contaminate groundwater wells at the park.

3.8 Fish, Wildlife, and Plants – page 3-66
The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act specifically protects the two species from unauthorized capture, purchase, transportation, etc. of the birds, their nests, or their eggs. If any action that might disturb the eagles is foreseeable, the USFWS would be notified for appropriate mitigation measures.
My Comment:
The ending of the sentence with “etc.” fails to include that any disturbance of eagles can be considered harassment and has been used to stop mining activities. Therefore, this EIS needs clarification as to what the “etc” means/contains. Furthermore, why should the spaceport be afforded special privilege that the USFWS seldom or never allows the mining community by mitigating disturbance? Over the last several years I and many others have seen, multiple times the big eagles resting on the power transmission lines in the Jornada. And, recently (May & June 08), these eagles have been seen on these power transmission lines.

3.9 Hazardous Materials, Pollution Prevention, and Solid Waste – page 3-78
My Comment:
I see no provision of possible reclamation of accumulated rocket exhaust contamination that may build-up in the soil. Is it possible that this whole area become a costly super-fund clean-up site? Clearly, this EIS has not adequately addressed this possibility and needs clarification.

3.10 Socioeconomics, Environmental Justice, and Children’s Environmental Health and Safety Risks – page 3-80
This section describes the existing socioeconomic environment, environmental justice environment, and environment to evaluate children’s health and safety risks of the areas in the vicinity of the proposed Spaceport America site.
My Comment:   
 The cancer causing rocket exhaust (perchlorates) that will float to near-by low income farming communities will likely contaminate crops thereby maybe creating long-term health problems for millions of people. It is reported at various www sites that children are more likely to be affected by perchlorates than adults because thyroid hormones are essential for normal growth and development. I found it amazing that this EIS did not attempt to discuss the potential adverse health affects of perchlorate and the related chemicals of rocket engine exhaust that will become accumulative over the years that this proposed spaceport suggests it will be in operation. Therefore, more clarification should be done before a license is granted the NMSA. More on this subject in the next comment.

3.10.3 Children’s Environmental Health and Safety Risks—Page 3-91

3.10.3.1 Definition and Description
Agencies must ensure that their policies, programs, activities, and standards address disproportionate risks to children that result from environmental health risks or safety risks.
My Comment:
In addition to the previous couple related comments there are numerous www sites describing the toxic effects of perchorates, such as http://dx.doi.org/, www.ehponline.org (Perchlorate and Thyroid Function, NHANES 2001-2002, Page 5 & 6) perchlorate exposure from the diet is probable, because of the contamination of milk (Kirk et al. 2005), as well as vegetables (Sanchez et al. 2005), fruit (Sanchez et al. 2006a), grain (Sanchez et al. 2006b), and forage crops (Jackson et al. 2005).
Severe hypothyroidism due to iodine deficiency during pregnancy is a preventable cause of cretinism, a permanent cognitive impairment of the developing fetus (CDC 2005; Glinoer 2000).
And according to what I read California is adopting perchlorate drinking water standards of 6ppb, Plus, New Jersey is apparently proposing to limit perchlorates to 5ppb this month. Plus, Massachusetts has already adopted 2ppb for their drinking water.
This government (CDC) site http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts162.html#bookmark02 explains how perchlorates affect the ability of the thyroid gland to take up iodine.
In addition to the preceding data I sure find it curious that the environmental NGO’s that constantly attack any proposed mining permitting process have remained silent about this spaceport’s various rocket exhaust chemicals. Is it possible that the NMSA a state taxpayer funded agency has told their progeny (environmental, wilderness and the NHT organizations) to not speak out against the spaceport?
Just as amazing is how silent the BLM, New Mexico game and fish department along with the wildlife NGO’s are about the possibility of rocket exhausts contaminating the public lands that wildlife depends upon for food.

3.10.3.3 Region of Influence – Page 3-92
The ROI for children’s environmental health and safety risks consists of three Census tracts surrounding the proposed Spaceport America site. These Census tracts were included because they are the areas most likely to experience any potential impacts of the Proposed Action.
My Comment:
What is presented in this specific section is accurate, however, the spaceport’s affects on the environment and socioeconomic conditions of both adult and children was based the promoted thousands of tourists and workers in the over-all general area. Therefore, this portion of the EIS is incomplete and does not reflect the original stated goals of the NMSA when it was being promoted to the voting public prior to voting for the spaceport tax. Therefore, clarification is required before this EIS should be approved. Furthermore, it should be an obvious reality—with more people coming into the area—more localized and unforeseen business opportunities will emerge causing even more likelihood that this specific section is not totally accurate. Consequently, this EIS is not sufficient and requires a new study and new EIS.

4.1 Compatible Land Use – page 4-1
• The NMSA has issued a letter to BLM establishing a policy of not seeking to close access to the public lands surrounding the proposed location (Sumpter, 2006).
• The NMSA has committed to working with BLM, other government agencies, and landowners to allow current uses to coexist with Spaceport America. A ranch management plan is being developed that will outline measures to ensure that the current grazing, habitat restoration, and other activities consistent with the multiple use philosophy of these land management agencies will continue to the extent that is practical.
Current local land use plans do not account for the expected changes in land use, but the affected counties and the State have been actively involved with the development and planning for Spaceport America. The environmental consequences of the Proposed Action and Alternatives on compatible land uses are not considered significant.
My Comment:     
From my perspective the NMSA says it is not seeking to close access to public lands, yet says “…extent that is practical.”, which clearly leaves open the door to road or access closure of the Joranda, including the Caballo Mts from the Jornada.
This EIS is supposed to be specific yet uses assumptions or possibilities, without specifically saying such, which is unacceptable. Of course, the NMSA won’t likely be the henchman to shut down access to the Jornada, it will be the state via funding (new tax district) for roads or the El Camino Real (NHT) demanding only limited access to protect the so-called fragility of the area, despite the fact that very few people want to be in this desert area. This EIS should not be acceptable to the public nor the FAA to grant a license without specifics that at a minimum allow the public and commercial enterprises the same options the spaceport wants to enjoy.
The NMSA indicates that the current local land use plan does not account for expected changes in land use, but the state has been active behind the scenes and concludes that this spaceport and facilities land use is not “considered significant”. Like the NMSA states – the state has been working with counties to develop land use plans, which I strongly suspect will be worded in such a way as to limit accessibility into the Jornada and have the consequence of stopping any possible mining activity. Thus, based upon my discoveries will rob the local population of meaniful jobs, a robust economy and a brighter future. Therefore this EIS should be sraped and re-constructed to reflect reality and the prospects of mining. So, the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE should be implemented.
This same segment goes on to state at page 4-2:

In designing and siting facilities, the NMSA has committed to minimizing the amount of change to existing land uses to the extent possible. The total land area disturbed by Spaceport America development and operations is a very small fraction of the State-owned land area available in the geographic region, and the impacts on Federal land use and lands with special designations in the surrounding areas would be reduced or eliminated by the actions described above and other measures to be developed.

The environmental consequences of the Proposed Action and Alternatives on compatible land uses are not considered significant.
My comment:   
The NMSA is saying it is committed to minimizing the amount of change to existing land uses as possible, which on the surface sounds ok, except, that, here again ambiguity is rampant by not specifically stating what these commitments and changes will be. Worse yet is contained in the last sentence, which is what the blatant unspecified meaning of “reduced or eliminated” or “other measure to be developed”. Clearly, this whole segment leaves a wide-open door as to what the NMSA in collaboration with State agencies, NMEMD, NMDGF, archeological, NHT organization and the BLM might do to unrelated spaceport commercial activities, such as mining on associated/adjacent BLM land. This EIS ought to be found unacceptable due to non specificity that SIP requires, as well as the implied threats to the just as important commercial enterprises of mining activity that could provide similar or better socioeconomic conditions for the state, federal govt and the American people.
That last sentence is another of the NMSA’s intentional ambiguities declaring that compatible land uses are not considered significant. Who is making this determination and what proof is offered to substantiate this decidedly biased conclusion?

4.1.1 Proposed Action – page 4-2

4.1.1.1 Construction – page 4-3
In some areas access would be restricted to protect facilities and for safety concerns, but recreational use would continue.
My Comment:
This section sentence fails to specify what areas – state land where spaceport is to be located or adjacent BLM land or even roads within the Jonada basin? This lack of specificity as to what lands might or will be affected or restricted access is another example of what I suspect is purposely designed ambiguity and therefore this EIS does not deserve approval by the FAA.

Page 4-4
Air emissions from the proposed launch operations at Spaceport America are discussed in Section 4.6. Consideration of deposition from a ground cloud near a launch site is found in Geology and Soils, Appendix D. These analyses indicate that normal vertical launch activities present no major air quality issues that would result in a substantial impairment of current land uses. These analyses do indicate, however, that a potential health threat from HCl (and perhaps Al2O3) potentially could exist around and downwind from an accident site involving an LV using solid propellants (e.g., small Concept V1 LV’s).
My Comment:
This paragraph admits that aluminum powder and hydrochloric acid could be potential health risks from an accident, but, yet, somehow these same chemicals, combined with other solid rocket propellants present no major air quality issues during a launch. This is another rather significant ambiguioty that deserves clarification as to exactly why these chemicals released in the air pose no serious long-term environment (land use) threat when it is clear to any rational mind that rocket propellants can only be diluted with the mass of air in the general area, but nonetheless settle back to earth. Furthermore, I seriously doubt that a mining company would be allowed to emit similar amounts of acidic gasses or aluminum powder into the atmosphere that are known to cause thyroid problems. Consequently, this EIS should have set-out specific safeguards the NMSA will utilize to protect the people, wildlife, cattle and land like the state and BLM would require from mining operations. Therefore, till another EIS is created that details these specifics the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE is the only current choice.

4.2 Section 4(f) Lands and Farmlands – page 4-6
The NMSA is conducting surveys, NRHP evaluations, and impact analysis and is working with consulting parties on an agreement to avoid, minimize, or mitigate impacts on cultural resources.
My Comment:   
The above statement suggests that by using some-kind of non-defined “working with” nomenclature that agreements can be achieved. Maybe this is accurate and ok, but I honestly believe that if a mining company attempted this same procedure it would meet with an immediate no and abundant laughter from state environment agencies. Therefore, the question must be asked – why has this EIS failed to specifiy how such agreements are to be achieved and justified so that a commenter, such as myself can not only be informed but make informed comments to this EIS? Consequently, this EIS should not be approved unless the same standards are allowed to all other commercial enterprises, including mining activities. The NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE is therefore applicable in this instance.

4.3.1.2 Operation

Vertical Launch and Recovery – page 4-15
Even if it is assumed that high sound levels would have duration of 2 minutes, this is a very small part of the 4,320 minutes in 3 days.
Also, the communities of Hatch and Truth or Consequences would be shielded from the launch and test firing sites by the Caballo Mountains and not be exposed to peak noise levels.
My Comment:
I am not critiquing noise levels, but the above sentence seems to be purposely creating a scenario that I doubt would be tolerated if a mining company wanted an approved EIS. A rocket launch that made x amount of noise for 2 minutes is one reality, but to somehow justify this noise within a period of 3 days appears to me as trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes, because as I read the projected number of launches there would likely be at least one vertical or horizontal launch every day by/during year 2011..
Although this last sentence does not take into account of the possibility that mining activity will be subjected to this noise I find it curious as to why any commercial mining activity on the eastern flanks of the Caballo Mountains or adjacent BLM lands is intentionally left out?

Estimates of Sonic Boom Impacts at the Spaceport – page 4-17
My comment:
I have been on the top of the Caballo Mts and experienced the sonic boom by a dive-bombing jet. So I know the sensation.  Although I personally believe that wildlife must learn to co-exist with man or they should go the way of the dinosaur there is not a doubt in my mind that sonic booms would, at a minimum, cause wildlife to leave the area. Therefore, having said the foregoing why the NMDGF has not objected to this noise baffles me when they claimed in 1992 that any human, especially occasional dynamit booms in their desert bighorn sheep habitat would cause them severe mental anguish. Thus, if the game & fish dept was being truthful I can only wonder why these sheep and other wildlife can now tolerate such noise. Therefore, what the NMDF&G is saying with their silence is that noise does not cause problems for critters and the environmental NGO’s have no standing to fight against mining activities in the areas near or within eyesight of the proposed spaceport.

4.5.1.3 Summary of Impacts from the Proposed Action – page 4-48.
Developing a State management plan for those portions of the NHT located on State Trust Land;
My Comment:
It seems to me that a management plan would have been already completed prior to this EIS. If a mining enterprise were to use this methodology I have no doubt that such an EIS would be dismissed as laughably incomplete. There, I ask why this same standard is not applicable towards the proposed spaceport? This EIS does not deserve acceptance due to an obvious biased intent in favor of NMSA.

Climate Change – page 4-61
CO2 is by far the most abundant pollutant generated by combustion of these propellants (FAA, 2001). For an assumed 125 vertical launches and 797 horizontal launches in year 2013, a total of 721 tons of CO2 would be released into the stratosphere by the launch activities. By comparison, the total annual CO2 emissions from all U.S. sources for 2005 were nearly 6.6 billion tons (EPA, 2008). Although CO2 emissions could affect climate change, the CO2 emissions from the Proposed Action would be negligible compared to the rest of the CO2 emissions sources in the U.S.
My Comment:
Personally, I place absolutely no value of the claims that Carbon Dioxide is a man made pollutant causing global warming. Nevertheless, because the state of New Mexico claim that CO2 is a pollutant I am forced to suspect that the designers of this EIS are utilizing the quoted words “negligible compared to the rest of the CO2 emissions sources in the U.S.” as a justifiable comparison to circumvent the so-called harmful effects of man made CO2.that the entire environmental community has seen fit to demonize. Also, it is interesting that this proposed spaceport projected rocket launches will emit 721 tons of CO2, yet, oddly, in a March 08 news article www.gallupindependent.com/2008/March/032008desertrock.html a proposed coal fired electrical generating plant in the northwestern NM -- according to the New Mexico Environment Department this plant will generate 12 million tons of unacceptable CO2. Furthermore, the news article indicates that this coal fired plant  “…would increase New Mexico greenhouse gas emissions by about 15 percent, making Gov. Bill Richardson’s aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals difficult — if not impossible — to meet…”  I agree that 721 tons is miniscule compared to 12 million tons. Nonetheless, something is out-of-whack and requires clarification because according to a news article   www.lcsun-news.com/latest/ci_7224163  Governor Richardson said  "We must start by instituting a nationwide, market-based cap and trade system that reduces carbon emissions in the U.S. by 80 percent by 2040,". So the question becomes – any additional release of CO2 will cause NM CO2 reductions to become harder or maybe impossible to meet. Furthermore, according to the NM Climate Change Advisory Group final report  2006 “Governor Bill Richardson signed Executive Order 05-33 on June 5th, 2005, establishing the New Mexico Climate Change Advisory Group (CCAG).1 The Governor directed the CCAG to prepare a report that includes a projection of the State’s future GHG emissions and policy recommendations for reducing New Mexico's total greenhouse gas emissions to 2000 levels by the year 2012, 10% below 2000 levels by 2020 and 75% by 2050.”
These few articles indicate that CO2 levels in the state MUST be drastically reduced, but how can that happen if this proposed spaceport is issued a license?
Another issue that seems to be totally missing from this EIS is that this proposed spaceport is not being criticized by the entire environmental community like they would to any other business activity including mining. I wonder if the NMSA will have to jump through the quagmire of regulations found at http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/permits.html and http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/aqb/permit/app_form.html
The obvious question that needs clarification is – Is it possible that a privileged few can do what they want while telling the rest of humanity that only the rich are allowed to do these deeds? In other words do as I say not as I do. The NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE is the only possible solution till this issue is clarified.

Summary of Impacts from the Proposed Action – Page 4-90 through

Summary of Impacts from the Proposed Action – Page 4-92
There are no anticipated significant adverse impacts arising from the proposed Project that would disproportionately impact minority or low-income populations. There are no disproportionate high and adverse impacts to minority or low-income populations expected from the construction or operation of the proposed Spaceport America. Therefore, there are no significant environmental justice impacts as defined by FAA Order 1050.1E because identified significance thresholds are not expected to be reached.
My Comment:
Because of the verifiable discovery of the Platinum Group Metals on lands & near the proposed spaceport it is entirely possible that a 1849 gold rush could well happen in this area. Therefore, all the suppositions made in this section are unreliable. Therefore, a new EIS must be constructed and the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE initiated.

4.11 Energy Supply and Natural Resources – Page 4-95
My Comment:
According to
FAA Order 1050.1E found at: www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/orders_notices/media/ALL1050-1E.pdf
304. EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES. Some actions that would normally be categorically excluded could require additional environmental analysis to determine the appropriate NEPA documentation.
I believe that the discovery of Platinum Group Metals there will be the distinct probability that huge numbers of prospectors and possible mining companies will come to the area, which will result in impacting the available energy and natural resources of the area. Therefore, this EIS cannot be found acceptable and must be re-constructed to demonstrate the potential impacts to demands upon housing and electricity needs in the months ahead, especially if mining activity would commence.

4.13 Secondary (Induced) Impacts – Pages 4-103& 4-104
Economic activity and regional land use in the region would not change due to the implementation of the Proposed Action. Therefore, no secondary or substantial induced impacts are expected to result from the Proposed Action or Alternatives analyzed in this EIS.
My. Comment:
I disagree, because when the news gets out about the discovery of the PGM’s in the general area life and circumstances will likely change radically. Therefore, a new EIS should be begun to reflect reality.

5.2 – Page 5-3
The leasing and development of oil and gas resources by the BLM could change land use in the vicinity of the Project area, but there are no active applications or pending leases.
My Comment:
Even though Oil & gas drilling occurred in the past and apparently no discoveries were made to justify further exploration I seriously doubt that with today’s technology that economical oil and gas discoveries cannot be found. Therefore, basing conclusions upon the historical facts does not preclude a new discovery and thus this type of logic is at best faulty.

Page 5-8
BLM leasing and development of oil and gas resources - The potential for development of these resources in the region of influence exists. The environmental documentation for
the proposed resource development determined that impacts to cultural resources could be significant (BLM, 2003). Although develop of such resources would not be allowed
within 0.25 mile of the NHT, there would likely be impacts to the settings of the NHT and El Camino Real-related resources.
Development of NHT visitor facilities – Development of visitor facilities along El Camino Real NHT would result in increased visitor use and access. This could result in increased vandalism, inadvertent damage, or illegal artifact collecting along this historic property and to other historic properties nearby.
My Comment:
Surprisingly, this EIS continues to fail at suggesting that mining claims, along with exploration and discoveries are not mentioned. I wonder why? Could it be that the NMSA plans to eliminate the mining claim stakeholders in the near-future?
I suspect that the El Camino Real NHT with all the theoretical vandalism, inadvertent damage will ultimately be used in some manner to help eliminate mining activity.
Because this EIS fails to mention the potential of mineral discoveries and has obviously not taken into account the possible associated impacts in the general area this EIS should not be found acceptable and the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE be implemented till the discovery of the PGM’s are part of a new EIS.
The CONCLUSION of My Comments is meant to help the FAA understand the enormity of the PGM discovery, which is intimately associated with this EIS.
In 1983 when I began staking mining claims I heard rumors that platinum group metals (PGM’s) were present in the Caballo Mountain area. Although this was interesting my mindset was to locate a silver deposit and did not begin to understand the ultimate meaning of these vital metals to the American economy and National Security Interests. In fact these metals were primarily just curiosities. Within a couple years my knowledge of the PGM’s began to grow exponentially regarding the importance, value and chemical complexity. I was accumulating a lot of data via laboratory analysis, which were consistently found to be of no interest to the major mining community; even the School of Mines in Socorro head honcho’s poo-poohed my PGM data. By the mid to late 80’s it was common knowledge that anyone suggesting they had PGM’s was considered to be crazy or some kind of con-artist. Nevertheless, I and others continued trying to crack the enormous problems of proving-up the existence of these mysterious PGM’s. Needless to say, by not quitting as most prospector’s & mining claim owners did and despite abundant frustration and considerable amounts of financial chaos I finally found an affordable way to prove the existence of the PGMs that the experts at the Socorro School of Mines said could not exist in New Mexico. Now, after all the previous body blows I find myself again confronted by a Goliath bent on stopping any mining in the area.
Perhaps the FAA will recognize the possibility/probability that America’s National Interests also include an in-house abundant supply of critical metals that will help us become energy and metal independent?

Respectfully,

Joseph Cummins
124 Lyle Way
Carrollton, GA 30117
Email: jcummins1@bellsouth.net


 

For Earlier Correspondence (02/03/2008 - Please Click Here