Contact: Mark Jacobsen
BLM DRAFT SUPPLEMENTAL COAL BED NATURAL GAS EIS NOW AVAILABLE
MILES CITY, Mont. -- The Supplement to the Montana Statewide Draft Oil and Gas Environmental Impact Statement and Amendment of the Powder River and Billings Resource Management Plan areas (SEIS) that addresses phased development of potential coal bed natural gas is now available for public review and comment.
The document is available in three formats. Persons may mail their request for a printed copy or a compact disk to: CBNG Draft SEIS Comments, Bureau of Land Management, P.O. Box 219, Miles City, Mont. 59301. The document can also be viewed electronically on the web at: www.wwwes.blm.gov/eis/mt/milescity-seis/. Copies of the Draft SEIS have been mailed to individuals and groups who previously requested them.
Interested individuals and organizations have until May 2, 2007, to submit comments to the BLM via fax, mail, public meeting or online. Public meetings will be held the last week in March with the locations and times announced in a future press release.
Comments are not considered votes, where the numbers of any particular comment receives greater emphasis over another. The most helpful comments to the BLM are those that point out additional science or data the BLM needs to consider before proposing a decision, or makes the agency aware of information that should be considered prior to issuing the Final SEIS.
Once the BLM has considered comments made on the Draft SEIS, a Final SEIS will be prepared issuing the BLM's proposed --but not yet approved-- decision.
Written comments on the Draft SEIS will be responded to in the Final SEIS if received by May 2, 2007.
The Draft SEIS covers coal bed natural gas resources administered by the BLM within the Powder River and Billings RMP areas: Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Rosebud, Golden Valley, Musselshell, Powder River, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Treasure, Wheatland, and Yellowstone counties.
The Draft SEIS was prepared as a result of an April 5, 2005, ruling by the U.S. District Court, ordering the BLM to prepare a Supplemental EIS to consider a phased development alternative for coal bed natural gas production in the Billings and Powder River RMP areas of Montana.
The Cooperating Agencies who collaborated with the BLM on the preparation the Draft SEIS are: Rosebud, Carbon, Golden Valley, Powder River, Yellowstone, Musselshell, Big Horn and Treasure counties; Lower Brule Sioux and Crow tribes; Montana Department of Environmental Quality and the Board of Oil and Gas Conservation; the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of Energy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The BLM also coordinated with the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, the Wyoming BLM, the BLM Eastern Montana Resource Advisory Council, the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.