BLM Wyoming proposes to offer 260 parcels in December 2020 oil and gas lease sale

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The Bureau of Land Management’s Wyoming State Office plans to offer 260 parcels totaling about 282,731 acres in an oil and gas lease sale the week of Dec. 14, 2020. This includes 61 parcels nominated for the December sale as well as 199 parcels totaling about 219,418 acres that were deferred from lease sales earlier this year due to their inclusion of Greater Sage-grouse habitat. 

Five whole parcels and portions of 10 others, about 18,176 acres in all, were deleted from analysis because they are in areas closed to leasing. In addition, the BLM plans to defer two whole parcels that contain unplugged well bores until they have undergone sufficient inspection and enforcement, and parts of two parcels to allow for tribal consultation.  

The BLM has meticulously reviewed the proposed parcels and determined leasing each of them conforms to all applicable policies and land use plans. All parcels will include appropriate protections and stipulations, such as seasonal timing limitations and controlled surface use to protect sage-grouse habitat and other important natural resources. 

Leasing, the first step in the process to develop federal oil and gas, does not inherently authorize exploration or development. Before a lessee can begin developing federal minerals, the BLM must approve a separate permit based on a more detailed review of the site-specific plan and its potential consequences. 

Today kicks off a 30-day public comment period on the lease sale’s environmental assessment. To provide feedback or learn more about the proposal, please visit our ePlanning site at https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/1502549/570, where you can access our analysis of potential impacts from the sale, lists and maps of the proposed parcels and the stipulations attached to each, and an online comment portal. The BLM will review and consider all input we receive before reaching a final decision, but specific comments addressing distinct parcels or resource concerns are the most beneficial in the analysis process. 

Wyoming is one of the country’s top energy producers on public lands. In 2018, BLM Wyoming raised nearly $117 million through oil and gas lease sales. About half the revenue from each lease sale goes directly to the State of Wyoming and, when leasing results in production, the state also receives about half the resulting royalties. This revenue from leasing and development funds The U.S. Treasury as well as important local projects such as public education, infrastructure, and other state and local priorities.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $111 billion in economic output across the country in fiscal year 2019—more than any other agency in the Department of the Interior. These activities supported more than 498,000 jobs.

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