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Washington Office Public Affairs
Release Date: 07/08/09
Contacts: Matt Spangler , 202-452-5130  

BLM Announces Winners of Best Management Practices Awards

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bureau of Land Management Acting Director Mike Pool today announced the winners of the 2009 Oil, Gas, Geophysical, and Geothermal Development Environmental Best Management Practices (BMP) Awards. The awards recognize those oil, gas, geophysical, and geothermal operators and their partners who demonstrate leadership and creativity in reducing the impacts of developing natural gas, oil, and geothermal resources on public lands.

Six operators were honored for their use of BMPs:

JM Huber Corp. was recognized for Best Overall Use of BMPs for its work in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming.  In the basin, vast amounts of coal bed natural gas (CBNG) resources are readily available and are currently being produced. However, other resource values, such as wildlife, vegetation, and highly erodible soils, can also be found within this region. JM Huber takes steps to ensure its development proposals are environmentally sound. For example, prior to developing its leases, JM Huber conducts early coordination meetings with the local BLM field office to incorporate the BLM’s resource concerns into the design of JM Huber’s CBNG development program. From this early coordination, the company developed a suite of creative and effective BMPs designed to address impacts associated with CBNG development.

EnCana Oil and Gas (USA) Inc. was recognized for Responsible Stewardship of Air Resources for its work in the Jonah field of western Wyoming. One of the key environmental issues associated with the development of natural gas resources in the Jonah field is air quality-related emissions -- specifically, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) -- that are released into the atmosphere. Under specific temperate conditions, a chemical reaction between NOx and VOCs occurs in the air that results in the formation of ozone, which is an air pollutant regulated under the Clean Air Act. EnCana responded to this issue by proactively implementing an extensive and complex set of BMPs to reduce the amount of fugitive NOx and VOCs stemming from its operations.

Ultra Resources Inc., Shell Exploration and Production Co., and Questar Market Resources were also recognized for Responsible Stewardship of Air Resources for their work in the Pinedale Anticline field. Like EnCana, these companies have partnered to design and implement BMPs specifically designed to reduce the amount of NOx and VOCs stemming from their operations. The companies’ partnership exemplifies the ability of industry to collaborate in developing practices that reduce the impacts to the health and welfare of the human environment while still allowing for the orderly development of oil and gas resources on Federal lands.

Green River Energy Resources Inc. was recognized for Distinguished Integration of BMPs into Geophysical Exploration for its work on the La Sal 3D geophysical project near Moab, Utah. One of the key issues associated with this seismic acquisition project was that it was highly visible and controversial to the public because portions of the operation took place within an area nominated by a citizens’ group to be a proposed wilderness area. Green River Energy Resources sought the expertise of third-party contractors to design appropriate mitigation measures that would address sensitive resource concerns typically found in areas with wilderness-type characteristics. The result was very low-impact exploration without a permanent footprint on the landscape.

The BLM presents annual BMP awards.  Operators, regulatory authorities, surface management agencies, Indian tribes, individual Indian landowners, other private landowners, trade organizations, and members of the general public may nominate operators.  Company officials or staff may also nominate their own operations.

A panel composed of BLM representatives, the energy industry, and representatives of conservation groups reviews nominations and makes recommendations to the BLM Director.

Environmental BMPs are state-of-the-art mitigation measures applied on a site-specific basis to reduce, prevent, or avoid adverse environmental or social impacts.  By reducing the area of disturbance, adjusting the location of facilities, and using other techniques to minimize environmental effects, oil, gas, geophysical, and geothermal operators are significantly reducing environmental impacts associated with new energy development on public lands.  More information about BMPs is available at .

More information about the BMP award program and a video profile of the 2009 winners are available at:

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.

Last updated: 10-20-2009