Farmington RMP: Mancos-Gallup Amendment
New - Status Update December 22, 2023
On December 15, 2023, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Farmington Field Office and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Navajo Regional Office announced to Tribes and other consulting parties for the National Historic Preservation Act Programmatic Agreement associated with the Farmington Mancos-Gallup Resource Management Plan Amendment (RMPA) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that the RMPA/EIS process would halt.
Since the RMPA/EIS effort began in 2013 and after the publication of the Draft RMPA/EIS in 2020, the BLM and BIA have seen reduced interest in oil and gas development in the San Juan Basin; increased interest in renewable energy; and the withdrawal of 336,404 acres from mineral entry around the Chaco Culture National Historic Park. Additionally, Navajo and Pueblo ethnographic studies for the region have been completed, the Honoring Chaco Initiative was created, and interest in outdoor recreation has increased.
Given these changes in the landscape of the planning area, the BLM will formally stop the RMPA/EIS process via notice in the Federal Register, anticipated for early 2024. That will be followed by an evaluation of the existing Farmington RMP (2003) with Tribal and public involvement. This will guide any future revisions or amendments of the Farmington RMP based on current conditions. The Programmatic Agreement prepared pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act is also near completion and will guide cultural resource management of the area, including sacred sites.
The BLM and the BIA thank the consulting parties for their collaborative efforts, and both agencies are committed to maintaining the relationships forged through the development of the Programmatic Agreement.
The Bureau of Land Management Farmington Field Office, in coordination with the Bureau of Indian Affairs Navajo Regional Office, has prepared a joint Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment and Environmental Impact Statement (RMPA/EIS) to analyze and update resource management issues, resource data, laws, regulations, and policies. The public was invited to participate in the 210-day public comment period which began on February 28, 2020 with the publication of the Notice of Availability (NOA) of the Draft RMPA/EIS in the Federal Register and concluded on September 25, 2020.
The RMPA/EIS will analyze the impacts of additional development in what was previously considered a fully developed oil and gas play within the San Juan Basin in northwestern New Mexico. The Mancos Shale/Gallup Formation was analyzed in the 2002 Reasonably Foreseeable Development (RFD) Scenario and current Farmington Field Office 2003 Resource Management Plan (RMP)/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Subsequent improvements and innovations in horizontal drilling technology and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing have enhanced the economics of developing this stratigraphic horizon. With favorable oil prices, the oil play in the southern part of the Farmington Field Office boundary has drawn considerable interest. Additional impacts may occur that previously were not anticipated in the RFD or analyzed in the current 2003 RMP/EIS, therefore an EIS-level plan amendment and revision of the RFD is required for complete analysis of the Mancos Shale/Gallup Formation.
Decisions in the Mancos-Gallup RMPA/EIS will be focused on the following resource programs: fluid leasable minerals; vegetation management; lands and realty; and lands with wilderness characteristics. All other resources are outside of the scope of this planning effort. However, impacts of the decisions for the resources being addressed will be analyzed on all affected resources.
Please visit the Farmington RMP: Mancos-Gallup Amendment ePlanning page for more information.