Housing / Land Use

BLM Central Coast field office releases final environmental analysis for oil and gas

Planning document analyzes six alternative approaches to oil and gas leasing and development, specifies which lands would be open and the stipulations to be applied to protect resources.

Information provided by the Bureau of Land Management Central Coast Field Office.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Central Coast Field Office has released a proposed resource management plan amendment (RMPA) and final environmental impact statement (EIS) for oil and gas leasing and development. According to a May 9 press release, this effort supports the Administration’s goals of promoting environmentally responsible development of oil and gas on public lands, creating jobs and providing economic opportunities for local communities.

The release said that this planning document analyzes six alternative approaches to oil and gas leasing and development, specifies which BLM-managed public lands or subsurface Federal mineral estate would be open to future oil and gas leasing, as well as the stipulations or restrictions that would be applied to protect resources. The land-use management decisions resulting from this planning effort would affect approximately 800,000 acres of Federal mineral estate managed by the CCFO, primarily located in Fresno, Monterey and San Benito counties.

Under the BLM preferred alternative, leasing with controlled surface stipulations would be allowed on approximately 683,000 acres of Federal mineral estate, and another 42,400 acres would be open to leasing with no surface occupancy. About 67,500 acres of Federal minerals would be closed to leasing in designated wilderness areas, wilderness study areas and national monuments.

The BLM predicts up to 37 new oil and gas wells to be drilled during the next 20 years on Federal minerals within the planning area, the release said. The BLM estimates that the oil and gas industry on private and public lands directly supports approximately 3,000 jobs and $623 million in tax revenue within Fresno, Monterey and San Benito counties.

The proposed RMPA and final EIS fulfills the BLM’s commitment to a court order to prepare a more detailed environmental analysis of oil and gas leasing, and the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing and other enhanced well stimulation techniques, the release said. The BLM will use the final EIS to issue and/or re-issue some or all of the 14 leases subject to the court’s decision.

The proposed RMPA and final EIS will be published in the Federal Register on May 10, beginning a 30-day protest period and 60-day governor’s consistency review.

Information about this planning effort, along with the agency preferred alternative and instructions for filing a protest, is available online at: https://go.usa.gov/xmP8V. Formal public protests, pertaining to the analysis presented in the proposed RMPA/final EIS, will be accepted for 30 calendar days from those who have standing, following publication of the NOA in the Federal Register. Pending the outcome of the protest period and governor’s consistency review, the BLM will issue a Record of Decision.

The Bureau of Land Management Central Coast Field Office jurisdiction encompasses 11 counties that stretch from the California Coast to the San Joaquin Valley, but the majority of the those lands managed by the Central Coast Field Office are located in Fresno, Monterey and San Benito counties.

 

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’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. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $96 billion in sales of goods and services throughout the American economy in fiscal year 2017. These activities supported more than 468,000 jobs.

 

 

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BenitoLink Staff