DENIED: No Growth, and Drug Screenings [UPDATE]

The cozy relationship the extreme Far Left Progressives of San Francisco’s Burning Man Organization enjoyed with the Federal Government under Obama doesn’t seem to be playing out quite the same way under President Trump.

Last year saw massive amounts of Burner cars being pulled over on the Paiute Indian Reservation and searched for drugs, as part of the President’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. See Indians Promised They Will Shut Down the Roads – and They Delivered.

This year we had threats of a concrete wall being built to concentrate the Burners, the horrific idea of trash dumpsters at the exit gates, and private mercenary armies conducting drug searches – while on the other hand, Burning Man asked for a population increase from 80,000 to 100,000. See BMorg Outraged at $10m Bill For $42m New Revenues.

No extra $40 million for you! The growth has been denied, but the private security doing drug searches is still on the table – maybe for this year, maybe 2020.

From the Reno Gazette-Journal:

Burning Man won’t be growing this year, but there could be at least one major change upon entry: drug screenings

The Bureau of Land Management on Friday issued the final environmental impact statement for Burning Man, denying the Burning Man organization its sought-after growth to 100,000 people but granting it more time to address a number of environmental and security concerns.

The federal agency may, however, hire a private security firm this year to conduct drug screenings. Or, it might wait until 2020, according to BLM spokesman Rudy Evenson. 

As for the growth of the event, the population cap will remain at 80,000 people … 

“The BLM and cooperating agencies could not support the event growing. The city of Reno, Nevada Department of Transportation, Nevada Highway Patrol as well as the Bureau of Land Management could not support the growth particularly because there are other events going on during Labor Day,” said Evenson.

One third of BLM law enforcement officers nationwide are required to patrol the event at the current size, but one half would be required if it grew to 100,000. Transportation agencies also want to find ways to alleviate the congestion on area roads before the BLM allows any growth of the event, Evenson said… 

In an effort to make the event safer and more secure, the BLM plans to hire a private security firm to “screen” Burners for drugs and weapons prior to entering the event, according to the report. 

In public meetings, Burners called the suggested drug searches unconstitutional.

Read the full story at the Reno Gazette-Journal

Is Trump going to build a wall at Burning Man?

Well…sort of.

No statement yet at the BJ, but some more detail was posted in the comments to this post:

Alternative D has been selected:
The event will occur with no population growth during the ten year period. This means that a total of 80,000 people will be allowed onsite until at least 2028.

In the final EIS the BLM has updated many facets of the mitigations. Listed below are some of the most contentious ones.

NAT-2 Dumpsters: This mitigation has been completely removed from the EIS. Yay.

PHS-1 Private Security at Gate: They are still requiring private security. However the contracting will be done through the BLM, not BRC. This security force will report “banned or illegal contraband” directly to law enforcement. Federal agency contracting out private security to conduct their unconstitutional searches.

PHS-3 The Wall Around BRC: The requirement has been shortened. It now just reads, “BRC will be required to implement physical perimeter barriers and controls to reduce the risk of unauthorized entry to the Event.”

PHS-4 Building Inspections: This one was loosened up a bit, fortunately. Now structures over 10 feet must only be inspected if they are for lodging and aren’t tents, RV’s, or motorhomes. Also, the inspection will be done by BRC staff, not “Nevada-certified building inspectors.”

VIS-1 Lighting: They’re letting us point our lights towards the sky. However, the BLM is going to monitor us to make sure we don’t spew too many photons.

Look for updates to this post as the story unfolds.


[Update June 15 2019 11:30am]

Volume 1 of the Environmental Impact Statement

Volume 2

Reddit thread

Some are saying that High Rock Security will be doing the drug searches.

Seems like some lucrative private security contracts will be going the way of long-time BMorg personnel

Private searches offer an interesting loophole for the government to get around the Fourth Amendment, as discussed in this 2017 Yale Law journal article:

Under the private search doctrine, once a private party has conducted an initial search independent of the government, the government may repeat that search, even if doing so would otherwise violate the Fourth Amendment. The private party’s search renders the subsequent government “search” not a search in the constitutional sense.


Currently Burning Man has a peak ticketed population of 70,000 and is allowed 10,000 staff and volunteers. They have missed out on 300,000 tickets over the next ten years, which is potentially more than half a billion dollars. I predict VIP ticket prices will increase above $2000 before the end of this period – in the past I have predicted that for 2020. We’re getting very close already: with vehicle pass, handling fees and taxes, this year’s VIP ticket is $1703.50.

28 comments on “DENIED: No Growth, and Drug Screenings [UPDATE]

  1. The BMOrg, on Thursday, after much discussion with their lawyers, and their BMP board, decided to fight solely the illegal searches by BLM hired contractors, within the EIS. Burners do not know how to reply to the rubbish, there is near to no discussion upon these matters, other than sadness. My belief is the police will continue to harass, and abuse, Burners for little amounts of drugs in whatever manner they might desire, in despite of solely a low per cent of their probable cause searches find drugs, and the drug dogs alert to the smell of marijuana upon clothes within vehicles, of which, the smell is legal in Nevada and California.

    Burning Man has decisions to decide a proper manner of the burn, or burns, for 2020, and after, in due of the harassment by the BLM, Pershing County, and their police, within this EIS, the permit, and on the playa. My belief is Burning Man lawyers, and many others, will be most involved.

  2. I’m pretty happy with this. I’m glad the BLM shut down any growth. Drug screenings? Eh. Can dogs sniff for MDMA, 2CB, etc? They’re mostly looking for weed, which hell, I have no problem with a weed-free event. Super glad the trash dumpsters are out. All in all, not a bad outcome.

    • JV, you read the four page summary of the Mueller Report the EIS, stating nothing to see here, move along. Might you read the full Mueller Report EIS, it is much different than the summary. I attempted to pen a more accurate summary of the Mueller Report the EIS, below.

      I have no problem with a weed-free event, either. I have a problem with the overbearing harassment by the police, and their unethical, and often illegal, behaviour, all for busting solely near to ten Burners each burn for more than a personal amount of drugs. And, all for their sense of proper Mormon rules, and their sense of self-rightousness, and for their amusement, it is fun to bully, and abuse, people different from you Burners.

      The BMOrg, based upon the four page summary the BLM statements prior of the near-to-final EIS being published, stated of they would respond on Monday, but, it is Wednesday, today. My belief is the BMOrg was surprised of what was in the near-to-final EIS, and they are discussing it with the BLM, their lawyers are penning responses, and the BMP Board is discussing the response, thus the delay in the BMOrg response.

    • Essential California: Will there be drug screening at Burning Man?

      ‘The Burning Man Project’s communications manager told me that it would be issuing a “comprehensive statement” later this morning,’

      ‘In Doherty’s view, the relationship between the festival and the BLM has never been simple, “but this is the first time something has exploded into anything that could publicly threaten the event continuing to happen at that location.”

      • Another thing to note: Illegal drugs are still illegal at Burning Man, and they always have been. Laws don’t dissipate willy-nilly in a cloud of playa dust, even if did you pay upwards of $425, not including fees, to spend Labor Day creating a new society in your underwear.
        But, as Doherty put it, “If you’re asking me to estimate, 99.8% of people who do illegal drugs there don’t get in trouble.” There were only 43 arrests, the majority of which were drug-related, during last year’s festival, which was attended by roughly 70,000 people.

        • The War on Marijuana continues. How does it make you feel that it is permitted to smoke marijuana in your county?

          I was waiting for the man burn six, or seven years ago, and the smell of marijuana occurred, and listened to the plain middle aged BLM woman ranger do a minute long, loud, rant of ‘I hate marijuana. I hate it. I hate it. I wish I could arrest every one of them.’

          The BMOrg is to release their response to the EIS this morning.

  3. I wasted a day viewing the near-to-Final EIS report by the BLM, including of the near to 3,000 comments by Burners, and the near to 1,000 comments by the BMOrg. The BLM near-to-Final EIS is awesome fiction, it is most biased against Burners, and against Burning Man, and it ignores most comments. The BMOrg states of they will pen a response tomorrow, Monday, my belief is of the BMOrg response will, in the manner of their comments upon the EIS, request of the BLM to re-pen the near-to-Final EIS to reply to the comments in a proper manner, and desire to permit the 2019 Burning Man event in the manner of permits of the 2017, and 2018, Burning Man events, to be based upon the Environmental Assessment of 2011 of an event of 70,000 participants. My belief is lawyers will be most involved, and perchance, the Burning Man event might move within 2020 in due of this most biased EIS.

    Police are permitted, and most encouraged, to exaggerate, mischaracterise, and lie to people purposed to gain confessions to a crime. They are permitted, and most encouraged, to lie that a police dog smells drugs within your car, or truck, purposed to gain a confession. The BLM, and their police agencies, are not permitted to exaggerate, mischaracterise, or lie upon an EIS, of which, it occurred in numerous places, and the BLM refuses to correct the EIS, their response, is near to LOL, we do not care. I will pen examples within a reply, below.

    The reports of the near-to-Final EIS will not affect the 2019 Burning Man event are false, the near-to-Final EIS has numerous mitigations of the most exaggerated, and mischaracterised, issues, of which, the mitigations, and monitoring, will be required within the permit of the 2019 Burning Man event.

    a) The BLM reply to a comment states of ‘In 2018, Pershing County notified the BLM the vendors would need a Pershing County business license.’ And, ‘The BLM will continue to require that vendors obtain a Pershing County business license.’ To gain a business license from Pershing County, the vendors must pay levies for the license, and Pershing County desires to gain payment of, my belief is of it is eleven per cent, for occupancy tax of leased RVs delivered to the playa, to gain the license.

    burnersxxx, my belief of a missing $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 of revenue from the 2017 Financial Analysis is the BMOrg requires the vendors to pay near to the same amount to the them, perchance, near to $500 for each RV leased from a vendor, of which, it is hidden in due of non-disclosure agreements. Numerous vendors do not desire to participate in the 2019 Burning Man event, perchance, in due of this rubbish, At the least, the BMOrg might lower their levy upon leased RVs in due of the BMOrg founders gained their massive payment for selling their privately owned Burning Man trademarks to the Burning Man Project within 2018, and they were paid for their value within 2018.

    b) Within a BLM response to a BMOrg comment upon the random drug and guns searches, on page K2-8, states ‘In addition, screening may be performed prior to the gate operation so as to no affect participants expected environment upon arrival at the gate.’ The BLM might hire multiple companies, including of their mates whom guard the prison in Pershing County, to randomly search vehicles waiting upon gate road, in their war upon marijuana. Might private drug dogs walk through the gate line? That is permitted by this near-to-Final EIS.

    c} Concrete barriers are not to be placed around Burning Man, but BLM states, within a reply to a BMOrg comment, ‘A good policy unenforced is merely a suggestion to the population. Comprehensive security plans begin with screening for banned items at the points of entry and a hardened perimeter.’

    The mitigation states of ‘BRC will be required to implement physical perimeter barriers and controls to reduce the risk of unauthorized entry to the event.’ Might the physical perimeter be near to fifteen kilometers of chain fences, and steel cable?

    The mitigation states of ‘At all points of entry into the event, beginning approximately 14 days before Labor Day, BLM will contract third-party, private security to screen vehicles and participants, vendors and contractors, and staff and volunteers entering the event. Third-party, private security will report banned or illegal contraband or significant concerns directly to law enforcement as violations are observed so that law enforcement can respond’ This is purposed for the BLM, and Pershing County, war on marijuana, that is near to the sole drug, of which, a search, and the drug dogs, are of the ability to find. Except of, the smell of marijuana upon clothing and car seats, upon which the drug dogs alert, is legal within Nevada, and California.

    d) ‘BLM will contract a sexual assault response team beginning 7 days prior to Labor Day through the Tuesday following Labor Day to better facilitate investigations and prosecutions of sexual assaults on public lands. BRC will compensate the BLM through cost recovery.’ The BLM police, and Pershing County Sheriff police, are too busy harassing Burners for marijuana, and little amounts of drugs, and staring at tits at the sound camps, to investigate sexual assaults.

    e) The dumpsters at the exit of Burning Man are delayed to the 2020 Burning Man event.

    f) Burning Man must reduce the lights, and high-powered lasers are not permitted, purposed for a rationale of it might confuse migrating birds, but that rationale was deleted from the near-to-final EIS. Burning Man lights are solely temporary, and the lights do not violate dark sky rules, in due of the lights are solely temporary.

    g) ‘Vendor and film applications must be submitted 194 days before Labor Day. Good bye to near to all vendors, and to any films the BMOrg founders might desire to film in due of, my belief is of the BMOrg founders, of when they sold their privately owned Burning Man trademarks, and the IP of the history of Burning Man, to the Burning Man Project within 2018, permitted themselves to produce, and sell, films utilizing the Burning Man trademarks.

    h) Near to all of the mitigations are of the BLM, and of their Pershing County mates, desiring to control Burning Man, and regulate behaviour of Burners, and the mitigations are of little to do with the environment, except of where the difficulties are most exaggerated. My belief is of the near to sole difficulty in regards of the environment in regards to the fairy shrimp eggs within the playa, and the BLM does not desire to discuss this matter in due of lithium wells are planned to be drilled in the playa near to Burning Man, and perchance, cyanide ponds might be utilized to gain the lithium from the water, of which, it would affect the fairy shrimp more than the Burning Man event.

    Numerous more mitigations, and monitors, are penned, of which, will be included within the 2019 Burning Man permit.

    • Thanks as always for the detailed comment, ABP. I’m sure you are right about the “RV tax”, I’ve heard about this and other similar levies but we can’t confirm it because the details are completely redacted in FOIA requests. It’s a state secret how many RVs go to plug-n-play camps at Burning Man…I’m not kidding.

      • Figure 2: Vehicle Type Burning Man Motor Homes

        -1.89 -27.30%
        Vehicle Pass Ticket year Max population BRC est. vehicles Motor Homes 12% tax Revenue
        $80 $425 2018 77,630 41,074 11,213 $679,521.27
        $80 $425 2017 79,432 42,028 11,474 $695,294.77
        $80 $390 2016 75,711 40,059 10,936 $616,792.28
        $50 $390 2015 76,412 40,430 11,037 $582,768.85
        $40 $390 2014 75,304 39,843 10,877 $561,265.81
        $0 $390 2013 69,613 36,832 10,055 $470,583.88
        $0 $390 2012 52,385 27,717 7,567 $354,122.60
        $3,960,349.47

    • ABalancedPerspective
      My belief is of the near to sole difficulty in regards of the environment in regards to the fairy shrimp eggs within the playa, and the BLM does not desire to discuss this matter in due of lithium wells are planned to be drilled in the playa near to Burning Man, and perchance, cyanide ponds might be utilized to gain the lithium from the water, of which, it would affect the fairy shrimp more than the Burning Man event.

      Burning Man is the sole detrimental exploiter of the Playa.
      Here are facts rather than unsupported opinion:
      The Black Rock Desert Wilderness is a large desert playa and the remains of prehistoric Lake Lahontan. At 314,835 acres, the area is one of the largest protected desert playas in the United States.

      The largest known lithium deposit in the United States is in northern Nevada, and a mining company says it has big plans for the property. The high-grade, highly-concentrated mineral is found in the McDermitt Caldera, stretching from Humboldt County into Oregon.
      The mine will use sulfuric acid to extract the lithium from the clay. Construction of an on-site sulfuric acid plant and lithium processing plant is expected within the next two years.

      Nevada’s only operational lithium mine is in Silver Peak, in Esmerelda County. It extracts the mineral from groundwater by pumping it into holding ponds on the surface where it will evaporate. Since the Thacker Pass Project’s lithium is in the clay, they will use strip mining to gather the ore.

      • Much obliged for your information of Pershing County desires twelve per cent business license levy on the RV vendors to gain the required Pershing County business permits, I estimated it was eleven per cent, above. And, much obliged for your information, by appearances, the BRC OSS levies on the priorly near to 100 vendors is near to $1,000,000, it is not the $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 I estimated, above. And, much obliged for the information in regards to lithium mines, in the manner of Thacker Pass, north east of the playa, plans to utilize sulphuric acid, not cyanide, cyanide it utilized in the gold mines near to the playa.

        But, when you quote me, and state I am penning unsupported opinion, I would appreciate you quoting the blue words within what you quoted, the link to the Reno Gazette Journal article, supporting what I stated, of a mining company gained 199 claims for lithium mining upon 4,000 acres, the size of Burning Man, between Gerlach, and Burning Man, on the playa. I know a mine is a hole in the ground with a liar standing next to it, but, a company does not spend the money to do so without plans, however preliminary the plans might be, to mine their claims. It is the same company that has the big lithium ponds in Esmerelda County. Might you click the Reno Gazette Journal article upon these matters, it shows the BLM has interests in minimising the discussion in regards of environment impacts of lithium mining upon the numerous playas within Nevada, a purpose of the BLM is to permit mines.

        In addendum, you stated ‘Burning Man is the sole detrimental exploiter of the Playa.’ That is false in due of Burning Man does not exploit the playa, exploit is a most incorrect, and most emotional word, and the EIS did not find Burning Man is detrimental to the playa.

        • INCORRECT: twelve per cent business license levy on the RV vendors to gain the required Pershing County business permits

          Pershing County Business Licence is $40 per year or $10 per quarter.

          Transient Room Tax is 12% which our local Hotels, Inns, Motels and RV parks collect and pay to the City of Lovelock which collects the County tax.

          What financial sub rosa activities BRC/BMP/BMOrg is involved in can be guessed at.

          Sorry the words didn’t copy blue, all of these seem grey.Feel free to provided mine and well locations you claim “would affect the fairy shrimp more than the Burning Man event.”

          • Is Pershing County desiring to collect the 12% Transient Occupancy Tax on leased RVs? Is Pershing County making paying the 12% Transient Occupancy Tax a requirement for the business license, of which, the BLM requires of OSS RV vendors?

            Many OSS vendors are not participating in 2019, and they are stating their rationale to camps.

            Blue words on lithium wells on the playa

          • Thus, Pershing County desires to levy 12% on the tickets, and vehicle passes bought for Burners in RVs, in due of their Transient Occupancy Tax.

            In addendum, most of the revenue of the BMOrg OSS program is in due of RVs, might the BMOrg levy 12% of the lease of the RV, and might the average lease of a RV be $4,000, that would be $480 of each RV, or $480,000 in due of each 1,000 RVs. The prior estimate of $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 of revenue, by appearance, is a proper estimate.

    • Is Pershing County desiring to collect the 12% Transient Occupancy Tax on leased RVs? –
      Yes, owned, rented, borrowed. Is it 12% of its value, NO. If you pull in to an RV Park in Pershing County it is 12% of the space you pay for. When I have stayed at a local hotel/motel its 12% of the cost of the room. At a RV Campground 12% of the space I pay to stay there.

      Is Pershing County making paying the 12% Transient Occupancy Tax a requirement for the business license, of which, the BLM requires of OSS RV vendors?
      NO
      See link to Pershing County Business licence:
      http://www.pershingcounty.net/document_center/Government/Sheriff%20office/business-license-packet.pdf

      Is there a requirement to collect the tax and pay Pershing County’s Transient Occupancy Tax when applicable. Yes, whether or not they have a Pershing County Business licence.

      Is this unreasonable or unfair?
      If you stay in Washoe County (Reno/Sparks) at a Resort/Hotel/Motel/Campground you pay their Transient Occupancy Tax they pay however collects the tax. The same applies if you stay at “Bruno’s Resort” or a Campground in Gerlach.

      If you stay on BLM land paying no fee and none is charged to be there then there is no Transient Occupancy Tax. Or in the Walmart Parking lot staying there for free.

      Are the Plug-n-Play “Hotels” required to pay the Transient Occupancy Tax.YES, do they? NO, just because a tax isn’t paid doesn’t mean there are no consequences.

      Don’t believe everything BMOrg tells you.

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