BLM Logo
Utah State Office
Release Date: 05/14/13
Contacts: Stephanie Howard , 435-781-4469  

BLM Seeks Public Comment on Potential Tar Sands Lease in Eastern Utah

Salt Lake CityThe Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Utah is seeking public comment on an Environmental Assessment (EA) analyzing the potential environmental impacts of leasing one, 2,116-acre tar sand parcel in eastern Utah’s Asphalt Ridge area near Vernal. The proposed lease parcel area is adjacent to more than 16,000 acres of State of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) leases and directly south of an existing tar sands mine and processing plant on private land.
In January 2009, numerous plaintiffs filed a complaint in the District Court of Colorado to prevent the Record of Decision for the 2008 Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for oil shale and tar sands from going into effect. A settlement agreement reached in February 2011 specifically exempts ongoing consideration of the expression of interest (EOI) for tar sands leasing in Asphalt Ridge, as well as the possible sale or issuance of a lease for parcels identified in the EOI. Additionally, the BLM undertook a new public planning process related to oil shale and tar sands leasing in April 2011 and finalized a new PEIS in November 2012. The 2012 PEIS similarly exempted ongoing BLM-Utah decision-making efforts regarding the lands included in the pending Asphalt Ridge tar sands leasing application.
Additional information about the proposed project is included in the EA, which is now available for public review and comment on the Environmental Notification Bulletin Board (ENBB) at; search for project name “Tar Sands Leasing EA.”

The 30-day public review and comment period for this EA is open until 4:30 p.m., June 13, 2013.  Please note that the most useful comments are those that identify issues relevant to the proposed action or contain new technical or scientific information. Comments which contain only opinions or preferences will not receive a formal response, but may be considered in the BLM decision-making process.

Please reference “Tar Sands Leasing EA” when submitting comments. Written comments may be mailed or emailed, using the following:

Mailing Address
Bureau of Land Management
Vernal Field Office
170 South 500 East
Vernal, Utah 84078

Email Address
Before including an address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, please be aware that your entire comment—including personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time.  While you can ask in your comment to withhold personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.  The BLM will not consider anonymous comments.  All submissions from organizations and businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be available for public inspection in their entirety.
For further information on this document, please contact Stephanie Howard, Environmental Coordinator, 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 contact the above individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours.
Follow us on Twitter @BLMUtah

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM'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. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Utah State Office   440 West 200 South, Suite 500      Salt Lake City, UT 84101  

Last updated: 05-15-2013