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Air Resources

Technical Guidance and Policy

The following links and documents provide information on how the BLM implements FLPMA, Clean Air Act, and other requirements that shape its Air Program:

BLM Manuals and Handbooks

MS-7300 Air Resource Management Manual sets forth the authority, policy, objectives, program structure, and roles and responsibilities for the BLM’s Air Program. The manual addresses multiple-use management responsibilities under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), and responsibilities under other authorities, including the Clean Air Act, that impact the BLM’s management of air resources on the public lands.

MS-1601 Land Use Planning Manual provides guidance on the requirements of Sections 201 and 202 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), the BLM’s Planning Regulations (43 CFR 1600), and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

H-1601-1 Land Use Planning Handbook provides specific guidance for preparing, amending, revising, maintaining, implementing monitoring and evaluating BLM land use plans. Appendix C, Section I.A., provides air resource-specific guidance for land use plan decisions, implementation decisions, and notices, consultations, and hearings.

H-1790 -1 NEPA Handbook provides guidance on how BLM fulfills its responsibilities under NEPA (i.e., the basic national charter for protection of the environment).

Best Management Practices and Mitigation Measures

Many resources are available to assist the BLM and project proponents in mitigating impacts to air quality and AQRVs associated with energy development and other activities that the BLM may authorize on public lands.

BLM’s Air Resource Best Management Practices (BMP) presentation discusses state-of-the-art mitigation measures applied to oil and natural gas drilling and production to help ensure that energy development is conducted in an environmentally responsible manner that protect air quality and AQRVs

The US Forest Service’s Emission Reduction Techniques for Oil and Gas Activities provides techniques which may be applied to oil and gas operations to reduce or mitigate emissions from development and production operations.

The Western Regional Air Partnerships’s Fugitive Dust Handbook addresses the estimation of uncontrolled fugitive dust emissions and emission reductions achieved by demonstrated control techniques for twelve major and several minor fugitive dust source categories.

EPA’s Natural Gas STAR Program is a voluntary partnership that encourages oil and gas companies in the US and abroad to reduce methane emissions through cost-effective technologies. To promote technology transfer and share industry best practices, the Natural Gas STAR Program provides information on cost-effective methane emission reduction opportunities through a variety of documents. Although primarily designed to address methane emissions, the technologies often have a co-benefit in reducing criteria and hazardous air pollutants.

EPA has also developed Clean Air Act regulations that directly apply to activities that the BLM may authorize on public lands. For example, EPA has issued a suite of air pollution standards affecting the oil and natural gas industry. The proposal includes the review of four rules: a new source performance standard for VOCs; a new source performance standard for sulfur dioxide; an air toxics standard for oil and natural gas production; and an air toxics standard for natural gas transmission and storage.

State air regulations may also apply to BLM-authorized activities such as oil and natural gas production. For example, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) has developed regulations (Aesthetic & Noise Control Regulations {800 series}) to control emissions and noise impacts during the drilling, completion and operation of oil and gas wells and production facilities. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Regulation 7 requires VOC emission control measures for O&G operations in the state. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has adopted several rules which regulate VOC and HAP Emissions from O&G production facilities in the state. These requirements are summarized in Wyoming’s permitting guidance for O&G production facilities.

Other Reports and Publications

Federal Land Managers’ Air Quality Related Values Work Group (FLAG), Phase I Report — Revised (2010)

BLM New Mexico State Office, Air Resources Technical Report for Oil and Gas Development

William C. Malm, Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), NPS Visibility Program, Colorado State University, Introduction to Visibility (May 1999)


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