Burning Man Music Festival has been routinely held in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert for the past 27-years, a setting equally beloved by event organizers and attendees alike. As Burning Man looks to host its 28th edition in the desert from August 26-September 3, 2018, the geographical fate of the festival’s 2019 iteration hinges on the renewal of Burning Man’s 10-year permit. In order to receive a permit renewal from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the festival must pass an environmental impact analysis, administered in conjunction with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The analysis will result in the creation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that will assesses Burning Man’s effect on the environment.
The length of Burning Man’s EIS has grown considerably over the years—in 1991, the festival’s fifth-year of production, the event’s EIS was only one-page. In 2012, Burning Man’s EIS weighed in at 343-pages. Led by the BLM, the EIS evaluation will begin in 2019, taking a year and a half to complete.
The BLM will specifically study Burning Man’s environmental impact on Black Rock City, examining the event’s hypothetical impact alongside the increasing populace of Black Rock City. The EIS will account for the effects of Burning Man over a 10-year period of Black Rock City expansion, recording the results in synchronicity with a projected population growth of 80,000-100,000 people, no population growth, or total absence of the city altogether. Festival coordinators note that they have “no immediate plans to grow Black Rock City.”
Burning Man bears the title of the largest ‘Leave No Trace’ event in the world, an ethos that speaks to the festival’s environmental awareness. Burning Man will maintain the same population cap used for its 2017 edition in 2018, an effort to keep the festival at a sustainable size. “Over the years our growth has been carefully planned, and it has helped ensure our cohesiveness and sustainability as an organization, an event, and a culture,” Burning Man organizers have said of the initiative.
Those interested in learning more about the EIS process can do so via Burning Man’s official journal entry here. The entry contains the dates of public meetings associated with the EIS that Burning Man supporters are welcome to attend in order to offer input on the permit renewal.
H/T: Burning Man