BLM to discuss oil and gas lease sale, Environmental Assessment
The BLM released their environmental assessment on May 2017 oil and gas lease parcels last month.
The Preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) for the May 11, 2017 Competitive Oil & Gas Lease Sale is available to read online by clicking on this link:
The entire document is 781 pages.
According to the document, BLM received the following items during the scoping period regarding the Oil & Gas Lease Sales:
• A letter from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) advising that additional stipulations be applied to protect wildlife and habitat.
• Letters and emails from private land owners concerned about the impacts to private property (split estate), water resources, air quality, recreation, wildlife, visual impacts and hydraulic fracturing
• A letter from Wild Earth Guardians requesting an Environmental Impact Statement, reasonable foreseeable impacts from proposed lease development, aquatic, wildlife and plant impacts, air and surface water quality, climate change impacts and carbon costs.
• A letter from the Center for Biological Diversity about climatic impacts, air and water quality, wildlife, human health and safety, underground water disposal.
• A letter from Grand County about water resources, water quality, habitat impacts that will affect plant and wildlife, wetlands preservation, recreation and conservation easements.
• A letter from the Town of Hot Sulphur Springs about recreation, noise, wildlife, water quality, air quality, cultural resources, property values.
Other issues voiced by the general public as part of the scoping project and reported in the EA include:
Climatic effects of leasing
Wildlife/fishing/big game impacts/raptor habitat
Inadequate NEPA Analysis and public involvement
Protection of municipal water supply
Possible effects to ground and surface water quality
Air Quality impacts to Rocky Mountain NP, Dinosaur NP and in general
Impacts to private property (split estate issues)
Spread of noxious weeds
Visual Resource Management
Page 63 of the document states: “According to the Reasonable Foreseeable Development (RFD) Oil and Gas Activity in the KFO [Kremmling Field Office], none of the nominated parcels are located within an area as having a high potential for oil and gas (BLM 2009).”
However, later the document goes on to state,
“Overall federal oil and gas leased acreage within the KFO has decreased from 204, 000 acres in 2008 (BLM 2009) to 111,300 acres in 2016. The sale could increase KFO leased acreage to 147,580 acres or 72 percent of the 2008 leased acreage.” (Page 67)
The document outlines in detail the environmental consequences of leasing and potential development including physical and biological resources, and heritage resources and human environment.
The Public Comment period for this preliminary EA began November 9 and ends on December 12. All citizens of Grand County are encouraged to write comments to the Bureau of Land Management regarding the Environmental Assessment. There are 27,529 acres in Grand County affected by this sale.
Comments must be submitted to the BLM by December 12 and need to be emailed to email@example.com or mailed to the BLM White River Field Office, Attn: May 2017 Lease Sale, 220 E. Market Street, Meeker, CO 81641.
BLM Northwest District representatives will be providing an overview of the Oil & Gas Lease Parcels to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) during their December 6 meeting at 2:15 p.m at the Administrative Building in Hot Sulphur Springs. The public is encouraged to attend.
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Grand County voters will be deciding on a number of issues this November from tax increases to school board memberships. Ballots were mailed out last week and Election Day is Nov. 2.