BLM to reconsider Burning Man demands

BLM to reconsider Burning Man demands
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Bureau of Land Management (BLM) staff should reconsider their requests for a million-dollar compound and access to free food like ice cream at this year’s Burning Man festival, the agency’s deputy director said on Monday. 

The Reno Gazette-Journal reported last week that BLM officials had asked organizers for a $1 million compound to host several agency staffers who oversee the annual festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. On Monday, the Gazette-Journal reported that BLM staffers had asked organizers to provide free food — including around-the-clock access to ice cream — during the festival, as well. 

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Burning Man organizers and local politicians, including Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidLobbying World Mitch McConnell is not invincible Seven big decisions facing Biden in 2020 primary MORE (D-Nev.), came out against the requests last week, with Reid calling them “unprecedented and extravagant."

On Monday, BLM Deputy Director Steve Ellis said the agency should “take a fresh look” at the requests. 

“I am concerned about the reported costs associated with supporting the Burning Man festival. I have directed that BLM staff take a fresh look at the initial proposals for food and facilities at the event,” Ellis said in a statement.

“Our priority is to provide for participant and employee health and safety, sanitation, and environmental compliance at this unique event that is attended by up to 80,000 people in a remote part of the Nevada Desert. I have full confidence in BLM staff and their ability to develop a plan that is cost efficient and ensures public health and safety.”

Burning Man currently pays about $4 million for the permitting necessary to host the festival. The BLM said it wanted a new facility to host staffers working the event, something that could add $1 million to the festival’s price tag. 

On Monday, the Gazette-Journal posted the lengthy list of food and meals the BLM requested festival organizers provide for staffers. The list included an assortment of breakfast, lunch and dinner options, as well a 24-hour snack bar and ice cream “available all day long.”