<![CDATA[ BLM Utah News Releases ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/rss/newsreleases/ut.html Utah News Releases en-us Wed, 28 Jan 2015 08:59:04 -0700 news Public_Room_UT_State_Office@ut.blm.gov (Utah Info) <![CDATA[ BLM Seeks Public Input on Proposed Energy Route (Issued 1/28/15) ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/blm_seeks_public_input0.html http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/blm_seeks_public_input0.html Wed, 28 Jan 2015 08:59:04 -0700 Vernal, Utah—The Bureau of Land Management Utah Vernal Field Office will begin the public scoping period for Wapiti LLC’s proposal to construct one well pad, including roads and pipelines, in Duchesne County, Utah. The purpose of public scoping is to determine relevant issues that will guide the planning process and influence the scope of the environmental analysis, including development of alternatives.
 
Approximately 1,080 feet of new road would be constructed and 1,132 feet of four-inch surface pipeline would be installed. The public is encouraged to review a map and newsletter summarizing the project. The documents are available online at: 
https://www.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/nepa/nepa_register.do.
 
After review, the public is invited to provide written comments on specific issues and concerns regarding the proposal. Written comments will help determine the issues to be addressed in the Environmental Assessment. All comments will be carefully reviewed and considered and become part of the official record. Please reference “Wapiti’s Federal 41-5-11-17H” when submitting comments.   
 
Written comments must be submitted by Feb. 11, 2015, by any of the following methods:
 
Mail
Vernal Field Office, BLM
ATTN: Stephanie Howard
170 South 500 East
Vernal, Utah 84078
 
Email
 
Project Website
To submit a comment on the above webpage, choose the “Advanced Search” hyperlink, and in the “Project Name” field type in “Wapiti’s Federal 41-5-11-17H.” Open the project website and click on the “Comment on Document” button. A newsletter summarizing the project and a map can also be found on this website.
 
Before including an address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in any comments, be aware that the entire comment—including personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time.  Requests to withhold personal identifying information from public review can be submitted, but the BLM cannot guarantee that it will be able to do so. 
 
For additional project-specific information, please contact Stephanie Howard at (435)781-4469.  Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to leave a message or question with the above individual.  The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Replies are provided during normal business hours.
 
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<![CDATA[ Volunteers Needed for Raptor Inventory Nest Survey (Issued 1/23/15) ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/volunteers_needed.html http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/volunteers_needed.html Fri, 23 Jan 2015 11:38:42 -0700 Moab, Utah—Are you interested in birds? Like to hike? Here’s an opportunity to do both: the Bureau of Land Management is seeking volunteers for the annual Raptor Inventory Nest Survey (RINS) in eastern Utah.  Field training by RINS personnel will be provided for all volunteers.  The training is scheduled for Feb. 2, 2015 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at the BLM Moab Field Office located at 82 East Dogwood, Moab, Utah.
 
RINS offers a unique opportunity for volunteers to be involved as “citizen scientists” in a long-term raptor nest monitoring project.  The RINS organization collects and manages vital data regarding the nesting ecology of eagles, falcons, hawks, osprey and owls.
 
You do not need previous experience or science credentials to participate.  You do need to enjoy Utah’s outdoors and desire to help these magnificent birds of prey.  It is recommended that you own a pair of binoculars, a GPS unit, a digital camera, and have an e-mail address. You will be asked to commit at least two field days per month from February through June, monitoring an assigned area.
 
For more information visit:  www.rins.org or call 801-554-0807.
Volunteers can also send an email to:  info@rins.org.

If you are interested in participating with RINS, please contact RINS for more information and plan on joining us Feb. 2, 2015 for training. ]]> <![CDATA[ BLM Seeks Public Input on Wilderness Therapy Proposal (Issued 1/16/15) ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/blm_seeks_public_input.html http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/blm_seeks_public_input.html Fri, 16 Jan 2015 13:13:35 -0700 Monticello, Utah—The Bureau of Land Management Utah Monticello Field Office is seeking public input on a proposal to issue a multi-year Special Recreation Permit to conduct wilderness therapy on public lands in eastern San Juan County.


Open Sky Wilderness Therapy proposes using 28 existing campsites, 14 new campsites, two activity areas, and various water/wood drop-off locations across a 144-square-mile area south of Highway 491 and east of Montezuma Creek Road 187 (approximately 14 miles northeast of Blanding, Utah).  Open Sky anticipates approximately 600 visitors totally 6,000 visitor days per season.  Seasonal use of public lands would occur October 1 through May 31.

The proposal is available for public review and comment on the Environmental Notification Bulletin Board at: https://www.blm.gov/ut/enbb/index.php (search for project name “Open Sky”).  

Written comments will be accepted by letter or email through February 16, 2015. Please reference “Open Sky Wilderness Therapy” when submitting comments. Written comments may be mailed or emailed using the following addresses:
 
Mail
Bureau of Land Management
Monticello Field Office
Attn: Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
P.O. Box 7
Monticello, Utah 84535
 
Email

For additional information regarding the proposal, contact Don Hoffheins at (435)587-1500.  Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to leave a message or question for the above individual. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Replies are provided during normal business hours. ]]> <![CDATA[ BLM to Conduct Prescribed South of Beaver (Issued 1/14/15) ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/blm_to_conduct_prescribed0.html http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/blm_to_conduct_prescribed0.html Wed, 14 Jan 2015 16:48:48 -0700 Effort will improve wildlife habitat in Nevershine Hollow

 
Cedar City, Utah— In late January, fire personnel from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Color Country District will begin burning multiple slash piles on public lands west of Interstate 15 and five miles south of Beaver, Utah. When appropriate weather conditions for prescribed fire exist, fire crews will use hand ignition techniques to ignite the piles.

Once burning begins, smoke will be visible from Interstate 15, as well as all major road systems surrounding Beaver, Utah. Smoke may be remain for several days after ignition takes place and can reduce visibility along roads near the prescribed fire area. Motorists are advised to use caution when traveling in areas near prescribed fire activity. No road closures will be implemented for this prescribed burn. ]]> <![CDATA[ BLM to Conduct Prescribed Fire in Iron County (Issued 1/14/15) ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/blm_to_conduct_prescribed.html http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/blm_to_conduct_prescribed.html Wed, 14 Jan 2015 16:44:09 -0700 Effort will reduce wildfire risk to Cedar Highlands

 

Cedar City, Utah—In late January, fire personnel from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Utah’s Division of Forestry Fire and State Lands will begin burning multiple slash piles near the Cedar Highlands community in Iron County. When appropriate weather conditions for prescribed fire exist, fire crews will use hand ignition techniques to ignite the piles. ]]> <![CDATA[ BLM Price Field Office to Host Informational Open Houses for Travel Management (Issued 1/13/15) ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/blm_price_field_office.html http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/blm_price_field_office.html Tue, 13 Jan 2015 15:06:31 -0700 Price, Utah—The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Price Field Office announces that the public scoping period for the San Rafael Desert Travel Management and Transportation Plan Environmental Assessment (EA) will run Jan. 21, to Feb. 21, 2015.

 
The purpose of public scoping is to determine relevant issues that will guide the planning process and influence the scope of the environmental analysis, including development of alternatives. As a result of the travel management planning process, each route on lands managed by the Price Field Office will receive a designation of “open,” “closed,” or “limited to designated routes.” The travel management plan will be subdivided into five areas with a separate EA and 30-day public scoping period for each area. The first area to be analyzed is the San Rafael Desert area, which includes the San Rafael Desert south of I-70 and east of Hwy 24 to the Green River and Emery County line.
The BLM will host two open houses where the public can provide written input on route designation criteria and travel routes in the planning area that are important to their use of public lands.  These meetings will also help inform the public about the BLM’s travel management planning process.
 
Informational open houses for the San Rafael Desert travel management area will be held at the following locations:
 
Jan. 21, 2015
4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
John Wesley Powell Museum
1765 East Main St
Green River, Utah 84525
 
Jan. 22, 2015
4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Emery County Courthouse
75 East Main St
Castle Dale, Utah 84513
 
In advance of the open houses, the public is encouraged to view a map of the planning area and current route inventory maps on the Environmental Notification Bulletin Board at:  https://www.blm.gov/ut/enbb/index.php(search for project name “San Rafael Desert”).  
 
Written comments will be accepted at the public scoping meetings and throughout the scoping period which ends Feb. 21, 2015. Please reference “San Rafael Desert Travel Management” when submitting comments. Comments may be mailed or emailed using the following:
 
Mail
BLM Price Field Office
125 South 600 East
Price, UT 84501
 
Email
 
Before including an address, phone number, email address, or other personally identifiable information in any comments, be aware that the entire comment—including personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. Requests to withhold personal identifying information from public review can be submitted, but the BLM cannot guarantee that it will be able to do so. 
 
For additional travel management information, contact Kelly Buckner, Land Use Planner, at (435)636-3639 or (435)781-4445. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the BLM during normal business hours.  The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question. Replies are provided during normal business hours.
 
Follow us on Twitter @BLMUtah
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<![CDATA[ BLM Director Highlights Agency Accomplishments in 2014 (Issued 1/9/15) ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/blm_director_highlights.html http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/blm_director_highlights.html Mon, 12 Jan 2015 11:13:38 -0700 Progress Seen on Host of Public Land Priorities
 
WASHINGTON – Capping a year of progress for public land priorities, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Neil Kornze today highlighted major accomplishments of the BLM in 2014, including major steps forward for energy, conservation, and public engagement.
 
“Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the professionals at the BLM, last year saw some remarkable successes for the responsible management of our nation’s public lands,” said Kornze.  “These accomplishments underscore the importance of public lands to the American people.  I could not be prouder of our work this past year and look forward to a very productive 2015.”
 
Kornze identified significant progress in a number of priority areas, including:
  • Providing an economic boost to Western communities;
  • Institutionalizing responsible renewable energy development;
  • Enhancing conventional energy opportunities and management ;
  • Building lasting partnerships for meaningful conservation;
  • Enhancing the connection between the American people and their public lands; and
  • Improving the way the BLM does business.
A summary outlining the BLM’s major milestones from 2014 is available here.
 
Last year, the BLM announced that public lands under the bureau’s management had contributed $107 billion to the U.S. economy in fiscal year 2013. During that time, public lands and resources managed by the BLM supported more than 440,000 jobs throughout the country.
 
In renewable energy, the BLM built upon its impressive legacy of clean energy development with its first successful solar auction. As a result of the work done under the Western Solar Plan, projects proposed in solar energy zones are being permitted in months instead of years.  “In 2014, the BLM delivered on the promise of the Western Solar Plan, achieving better environmental outcomes while providing industry with a more predictable, streamlined process,” Kornze said. “The advance planning and stakeholder outreach of the Western Solar Plan has proved to be a win-win approach for responsible solar development on public lands.”
 
The BLM Director also identified progress in conventional energy development and drew special attention to the agency’s strengthening of its oil and gas inspection efforts. Domestic production from Federal onshore oil and gas wells accounts for 11 percent of the nation’s natural gas supply and 5 percent of its oil. The Bureau offers millions of acres for lease each year and has already approved nearly 6,000 drilling permits that are ready for immediate use by industry. “The BLM is proud to be part of America’s resurgence in oil and gas. We are working with partners in states all across the country to ensure that development takes place in the right places and is done safely and responsibly,” Kornze said.
 
Also of note, Kornze cited progress in a number of conservation efforts, including increased rangewide protections for the Greater Sage Grouse and new additions to the National Conservation Lands.  “Our field and district office teams do extraordinary work,” Kornze said.  “Because of the strength of their relationships in communities across America, we made major strides in 2014 in providing meaningful protections for sage grouse habitat and other critical landscapes.”
 
Kornze also stressed the importance of connecting Americans of all ages to their public lands. “In 2014, the BLM took important steps forward in engaging with the public,” Kornze said. “Through new efforts like our Planning 2.0 initiative, the BLM is finding ways to make our planning efforts more efficient and more meaningful for the public.”  The BLM also stepped up its efforts to get information out to the public using popular online tools like Google Maps, Facebook and Tumblr.
 
Kornze predicted further progress on these priorities for 2015. “In the year ahead,” Kornze said, “the same principles that have guided our work in the past – thoughtful stewardship of our nation’s resources; meaningful collaboration with stakeholders at the local, state, and national levels; and using the best science and technology available – will help us take great strides.”
 
For a full list of bureau announcements from the year, please visit the BLM Newsroom.
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<![CDATA[ BLM Restricts Roped Activities at Corona Arch and Gemini Bridges (Issued 1/6/15) ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/blm_restricts_roped.html http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/blm_restricts_roped.html Tue, 6 Jan 2015 16:20:11 -0700 Moab, Utah—The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Utah, Moab Field Office will temporarily restrict roped activities at Corona Arch and Gemini Bridges for a two-year period.  These activities include ziplining, highlining, slacklining, climbing, rappelling, and rope swinging.
 
“This temporary restriction provides the BLM with time to continue working with the public to develop appropriate recreation management strategies for these two popular recreation destinations,” said Moab Field Office Manager, Beth Ransel.
 
The decision to temporarily restrict these activities is in response to comments expressed by the public regarding user conflicts, particularly in the Corona Arch area. Corona Arch and Gemini Bridges each receive more than 40,000 visitors each annually and are located at the end of very popular hiking trails that are iconic destinations for visitors to the Moab area.
 
Maps of the restricted areas are available on the Moab Field Office webpage at: http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/moab/recreation.html.
 
The Environmental Assessment, Finding of No Significant Impact and Decision Record are posted on the Environmental Notification Bulletin (ENBB) at:
https://www.blm.gov/ut/enbb/index.php; search for project name “Corona.”

For additional restriction-specific information, contact Beth Ransel at (435) 259-2100. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to leave a message or question with the above individual. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Replies are provided during normal business hours. ]]> <![CDATA[ BLM Delivers on Permits, Leasing Opportunities for Oil and Gas in 2014 (Issued 1/6/15) ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/blm_delivers_on_permits.html http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/blm_delivers_on_permits.html Tue, 6 Jan 2015 08:21:23 -0700 Drilling, Production Activity on the Rise on Public Lands

Bureau Continues Focus on Inspection and Enforcement Needs of Expanding Portfolio

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), whose onshore oil and gas program includes approximately 100,000 wells spread across public lands, today released data summarizing oil and gas permitting, leasing, drilling, and production activity for fiscal year 2014. Over the past year, the BLM provided drilling permits and leasing opportunities in excess of industry demand. During that same time, industry drilled more wells and produced from more acres than in the previous year. The BLM continues to focus on meeting inspection and enforcement responsibilities on this expanding portfolio of oil and gas activities on public land.
 
In the past year, the BLM approved 3,769 drilling permits, on par with the previous year and half-again as many authorizations as industry drilled on public lands in 2014. The BLM on average completed its portion of the permitting process in a little over 90 days, also consistent with the previous year. In total, nearly 6,000 drilling permits have already been approved by the BLM and are ready for immediate use by oil and gas companies. These permits represents over two years’ worth of drilling at the current rate.
 
Meanwhile, the BLM continued to offer new opportunities for leasing in excess of industry demand. In fiscal year 2014, the BLM offered nearly 5.7 million acres at 26 oil and gas lease sales across the west, with one in five of those acres receiving bids. Oil and gas companies continued to hold valid leases on over 34 million acres of public lands this year, an area the size of the state of Florida.  Roughly a third of this land is currently being used to produce oil and natural gas.
 
In the past year, industry leased more new acres, drilled more wells, and produced from more acres than the previous year. During fiscal year 2014, industry leased, through competitive bidding and other means, nearly 1.2 million acres, a slight increase from the previous year.  Oil and gas operators last year drilled 2,544 wells on public lands, also up from the previous year. Industry is now actively producing from 12.7 million acres of public land, the third highest total since 1990.
 
“The BLM is proud of the role we play in supporting responsible energy development on public lands,” said BLM Director Neil Kornze.  “At the same time, we are mindful of the cradle-to-grave management responsibility that comes with each new well. We are committed to supporting robust development and must also ensure safe operations and a fair return to the taxpayer.”
 
The critical job of overseeing and inspecting the approximately 100,000 wells on public land is a BLM responsibility for the life of the well, often lasting for decades. Currently, the agency covers the cost of this critical work with annual appropriations that do not necessarily match the workload needs of the agency. To ensure a continued robust oil and gas program, the President asked Congress in his last four budgets to grant the BLM the authority to charge modest fees that would allow the BLM to be more responsive to industry needs and to properly fulfill its inspection and enforcement responsibilities. A similar authority has been granted to the nation’s offshore oil and gas regulator, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
 
“The portfolio of oil and gas wells overseen by the BLM has expanded at the same time that drilling has become more complex,” Kornze said. “We have a foundational responsibility to make sure that oil and gas operations on public lands are done safely and responsibly.”
 
The BLM’s onshore program accounts for 11 percent of the natural gas and 5 percent of the oil produced in the United States.  The Department of the Interior disbursed more than $13.4 billion in revenue generated by energy production on federal and American Indian lands and offshore areas in fiscal year 2014.  These revenues are shared among federal, state and tribal governments and represent one of the largest nontax sources of U.S. government funds.
 
A full summary of oil and gas statistics for fiscal year 2014 is now available here.
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<![CDATA[ Phone Outage Hits BLM Moab Office on Group Site Reservation Day (Issued 1/5/14) ]]> http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/phone_outage_hits.html http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/phone_outage_hits.html Mon, 5 Jan 2015 16:18:33 -0700 The BLM Utah Moab Field Office would like to apologize to all who tried to reach the office by telephone on Jan. 5, 2015. This phone outage was especially difficult on the Moab Field Office because Jan. 5 is the first date that campground group site reservations could be made for the 2015 calendar year.
 
The Field Office will endeavor to contact all who contacted us by email or other means. Phone service was restored by late afternoon and the Moab Field Office is again taking reservations via telephone on the reservation line at (435)259-2102.
 
Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to leave a message or question. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Replies are provided during normal business hours.
 

Follow us on Twitter @BLMUtah ]]>