BLM Seeking Public Comment on Environmental Reviews for Oil and Gas Leasing
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) encourages the public to submit comments on eight environmental assessments issued today that analyze oil and gas leasing decisions for 57 suspended Montana leases and 163 other parcels in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota that were previously considered for leasing. The public comment period closes September 13, 2010.“These assessments generally propose increasing the number of environmentally protective conditions on leases. In the past, such protections may have been added as conditions of approval when the BLM analyzed a drilling application," said Acting State Director Mike Nedd. “By conducting a more extensive environmental review before offering parcels for lease, the BLM is better able to protect land, water, and wildlife while allowing oil and gas development to proceed in an environmentally responsible manner in appropriate locations." In March 2010, as part of a litigation settlement agreement, the BLM suspended 61 oil and gas leases that it issued in 2008. In settling this litigation, the BLM agreed to conduct additional environmental analysis of these parcels. Since then, four leases were terminated by the lessees so the assessments address the remaining 57 leases. The eight assessments also include analysis of an additional 163 parcels that had previously been nominated for leasing. All eight assessments are posted on BLM-Montana's website at https://www.blm.gov/montana-dakotas and the address for mailing comments is included in each individual assessment. Questions about the specific assessments may be directed to the appropriate BLM Field Office. The environmental assessments will be finalized after considering public comments.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.