Supplemental Analysis on suspended 44,600 acres
Revisiting oil and gas leasing in the Wyoming Range
by Bridger-Teton National Forest
January 29, 2008
The Bridger-Teton National Forest intends to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement to analyze and disclose new information relative to oil and gas leasing on 44,720 acres on the Big Piney Ranger District. This supplemental analysis will resolve a concern of the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) relied on inadequate and stale analysis performed by the Forest Service.
The public is invited to provide comments concerning new information or issues not considered in previous environmental analyses conducted by the Forest Service. Comments must be postmarked no later then 45-days from the publication of the Notice of Intent in the Federal Register. The Notice of Intent is expected to be published in the Friday February 1, 2008 edition of the Federal Register. Written comments can be sent to Stephen Haydon, Forest Minerals Staff, Bridger-Teton National Forest, 340 N. Cache, P.O. Box 1888, Jackson, WY 83001-1888. Send electronic comments to: email@example.com. Please write leasing SEIS in the subject line.
The Bridger-Teton National Forest made the oil and gas leasing decision in the forest plan signed in 1990. Subsequent environmental assessments were completed in the early 1990s to consider the impacts of oil and gas leasing in various management units throughout the forest. Since then, several issues that have bearing on oil and gas leasing have arisen and new information has become available. The Forest Service reviewed those issues and documented the findings in a supplemental information report completed February 25, 2004. The Forest Supervisor concluded that the new issues and additional information did not alter the previous leasing decision made in the Forest Plan of 1990.
The Forest Service sent lease parcels covering 44,720 acres to the BLM for competitive lease sale in 2005. The BLM offered, sold and subsequently issued leases on 20,963 acres from the December 2005 and April 2006 lease sales. In June and August 2006 the BLM sold but did not issue leases on the remaining 23,757 acres. Following protest and BLM State Director’s review, an appeal to the Interior Board of Land Appeals was filed for the December and April lease sales. The appeal included a “request for stay,” which IBLA granted. Upon request by the BLM, IBLA remanded the appeals back to the BLM for resolution. This supplemental analysis will address the resource issues and effects analysis concerns identified by IBLA and any additional issues that arise as a result of this scoping effort.
A draft supplemental environmental impact statement is expected in May of 2008 and a final supplemental environmental impact statement is expected in September 2008.