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November 30, 2007

Contact: Cindy Wertz

BLM Defers Offering 13 Parcels in Upcoming Oil and Gas Sale

The Bureau of Land Management announced today it will defer offering 13 parcels of the 229 parcels in the upcoming oil and gas sale on Dec. 4, 2007.

The 13 parcels encompass approximately 28,500 acres and are located in southern Wyoming in the Saratoga area.

Wyoming State Director Bob Bennett said, "We are currently in the process of updating our Rawlins Resource Management Plan (RMP) and want to address new concerns raised by the State of Wyoming. We don't want to offer the parcels until we make sure leasing in the area is in conformance with the upcoming RMP revision."

Rawlins BLM hosted a number of meetings to garner public input for the RMP. Additionally, State and local agencies worked with BLM to develop the RMP revisions. At that time no new information was provided on the Saratoga area that would change the current status of these lands being available for oil and gas leasing. The lease offering of these parcels is specifically provided for by the Great Divide Resource Management Plan.

The BLM has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. They reviewed all these parcels before they were offered for sale and they agreed that the parcels could be offered for sale, with the wildlife restrictions BLM had proposed to be attached to these lands.

BLM later received a differing recommendation from the Governor's office, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. In light of these new positions, BLM decided to defer the parcels.

The BLM can use lease deferrals as a step in the leasing process to ensure that all parcels offered comply fully with all applicable laws and regulations.