Burning Man is facing one of its toughest summers in some time. 75 days out, it is still waiting for its 10-year permit to be approved by the Bureau of Land Management. There are always hard negotiations and haggling over them, but this time around, the BLM seems to be taking a tough stance. They created an 876 page pdf with their proposed requirements for Burning Man, which includes drug searches by third party security, a cap on the attendance and more.
There is a whole lot to unpack in the massive report, but there are a few key takeaways.
They would demand that “third-party, private security to screen vehicles and participants, vendors and contractors, and staff and volunteers entering the Event” who would report “directly to law enforcement.” BLM wants those security guards to be placed at the portals of entry 14 days before Labor Day.
Their rational is super odd. “Illicit drug use can result in an urgent need to evacuate one’s refuse, resulting in increases of human feces deposited on the playa and left unclaimed by participants in recent years.” There are probably worse things to worry about with drug use?
These screenings have been blasted by burners as unconstitutional, while organizers have said it would cause chaos and delays at the gates according to SFist.
BLM has also decided against upping the capacity to 100,000 from the current 80,000.
Concrete barriers and dumpsters won’t be required for the event; however, a physical barrier around the event is still being asked for.
None of this is final. There will be a 30-day "reading period" for the public to view the document and then BLM can make their decision about the permit. A permit is required each year, so if BLM wants to make changes, it would have to issue another report to explain its rational according to the Reno Gazette Journal.