Burning Man is no stranger to challenges from outside forces, but since it has become a cultural phenomenon, the festival has faced new pressures to try and stay true to its roots, while also dealing with a changing world. Just like any event, Burning Man exists at the whim of permits and local governments, and the local Nevada government seems to be paying more attention to BM as it tries to expand. A recent draft environmental impact statement by the government raised new concerns about the security and environmental impact of Burning Man, despite its commitment to Leave No Trace.
The government is concerned about a growing event and wants Burning Man to chip in more to offset potential costs. The problem Burning Man says is that the amount the government wants is potentially disastrous.
The EIS (Environmental Impact Study) calls on Burning Man “to pay for maintenance of County Road 34, which leads to the event’s entrance,” despite there being taxes for this. The new 10-year special use permit would also force Burning Man to get certified building permits and mitigate air quality. All of this could cost an additional $10 million per year, which BM claims would add $286 to each ticket.
BM would also have to hire a private security company to search for weapons and drugs. The Bureau Of Land Management is apparently concerned about terrorism at BM according to PBS, saying, “several vulnerabilities exist” and the “iconic status of Burning Man and widespread media coverage of the event could make the festival an attractive target for an individual or team of attackers.”
BLM also wants to contract a sexual team, paid for by BM to combat the rising problem of sexual assault at Burning Man. 21 sexual assaults were reported in 2017. There are other issues of water, garbage and poop that the event will have to grapple with as it attempts to grow from 80,000 to 100,000 people.
Burning Man wants its fans to weigh in on the statement during a public comment period, which is open now until April 29. Find out how you can comment via the Burning Man Journal here.
There are also public meetings if you live in Northern Nevada at the below places according to the Reno Gazette Journal.
5 to 8 p.m: Monday, April 8, at the Nugget in Sparks,
5 to 8 p.m: Tuesday, April 9, at the Lovelock Community Center in Lovelock.