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Inspection and Enforcement

In Fiscal Year 2007, the BLM completed 24 percent more inspections than in Fiscal Year 2004, including 63 percent more environmental inspections.  Environmental inspections ensure that lease stipulations and permit conditions of approval are being implemented in operations.

The seven Pilot Offices - located specifically in areas with the highest levels of oil and gas development - are leading the Bureau's efforts to ensure that energy development is environmentally responsible.

The Farmington Office (New Mexico) has adopted a new well-inspection strategy to ensure that all producing wells in its jurisdiction are inspected every three years, while also maintaining a proper production-inspection schedule.  Farmington's surface inspection team performs surface compliance inspections before, during and after every surface-disturbing action.  More than 3,000 such inspections were done in FY2007.

The Carlsbad Office (New Mexico) monitored more than 1,100 plugged wells in FY2007 in order to determine whether final abandonment could be authorized.  Special emphasis is also given to having BLM staff present during pre-construction, after drilling, and during final reclamation.

In the area covered by the Glenwood Springs Office (Colorado), a significant amount of newly approved drilling activity occurs in urban interface areas.  So, the office has made inspection of new construction the highest priority, along with increased I&E of ongoing operations.  The approach allows operators a chance to take timely steps to correct minor violations before they become major.

The 25 other BLM Field Offices that administer development of Federal oil and gas resources have also increased their inspection activities.  A 63 percent increase in the total number of inspections completed by these offices between FY2003 and FY2007 included more than twice the number of environmental inspections (5,961 in '07, compared with 2,097 in '03 and 3,317 in '04).



Last updated: 10-20-2009