Burning Man has been embroiled in a months-long battle with the federal government’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Now, after organizers called for a community-wide petition to fight proposed zoning changes, the US government entity isn’t letting up.
The United States BLM is concerned about the environmental impact of Burning Man growing from 80,000 to 100,000 attendees this year, according to the bureau’s recently published Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The report outlines concerns over traffic flow, air quality, sanitation issues, and the festival’s size attracting a potential terrorist attack.
Thus, the government is proposing new restrictions calling for cement barriers around the Black Rock City perimeter, dumpsters on site, security inside the boundaries, and vehicle searches upon entry. Any burner knows all of the restrictions run completely antithetical to Burning Man’s ethos, which is to provide a temporary pop-up utopia to escape the so-called “default world.”
Burning Man’s associate director of government affairs, Marnee Benson, believes BLM’s requests are fueled by greed over environmental concerns, according to Bloomberg. A “Leave No Trace” mentality has always been Burning Man’s mantra over its 33-year history. The mere sight of dumpsters, for instance, would contradict one of Burning Man’s core principle tenants and encourage the unconscious disposal of trash.
“The future of Black Rock City is at risk, and we need your continued support.”
Currently, the BLM is reviewing over 2,000 public protest comments made in April, before releasing the final environmental impact statement. The final statement is scheduled to be published on June 14.