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High Desert District
Release Date: 04/14/11
Contacts: Shelley Gregory    

BLM Hosts Public Scoping Meeting for Oil Shale/Tar Sands Leasing Program
Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public comment on a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) and possible land use plan amendments for the allocation of oil shale and tar sands resources.

The BLM will host two public scoping meetings in the Rock Springs Field Office (RSFO) to discuss and accept comments on a proposed new public planning process related to oil shale and tar sands on BLM lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. The meetings are scheduled for Friday, April 29 at 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. at the RSFO at 280 Highway 191 North, Rock Springs, Wyo.

The PEIS will consider whether it is appropriate for lands previously identified in an EIS to remain open for oil shale and tar sands leasing and development while the technology to harness these resources is in its infancy and the potential environmental impacts are still being evaluated.

In 2008, the BLM published a Final PEIS that, in addition to expanding the acreage potentially available for commercial tar-sands leasing, amended eight resource management plans in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming to make approximately 1.9 million acres of public lands potentially available for commercial oil shale development and 431,224 acres for tar sands leasing and development.

With commercial development of oil shale at least several years away, the new planning process will allow the BLM to take a fresh look at what public lands are best suited for oil shale and tar sands development. Final land-use decisions will be made in light of any new information about potential resource needs and impacts, and technological innovations.

The public is being invited to submit comments and concerns on potential resource issues that should be discussed in the National Environmental Policy Act analysis, including input on historic and cultural resources within the areas proposed for land use plan amendment.

The announcement was published in the Federal Register on April 14 and initiates a 30-day public scoping period. The BLM will also hold public scoping meetings on the following dates and locations: April 26 in Salt Lake City, Utah; April 27 in Price, Utah; April 28 in Vernal, Utah; May 3 in Rifle, Colorado; May 4 in Denver, Colorado; and May 5 in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

If you are unable to attend any meeting, you may mail your comments by May 16, 2011 to Sherri Thompson, BLM Colorado State Office, 2850 Youngfield Street, Lakewood, CO 80215. Written and oral comments will be given equal weight for consideration in development of the programmatic EIS.

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.

High Desert District   280 Highway 191 North      Rock Springs WY 82901  

Last updated: 04-28-2011