BLM

Natural Resources & Energy
7:06 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Wild Horse Roundup Will Be Allowed To Move Forward

The U.S. tenth circuit court of appeals has overruled wild horse advocates and will allow the roundup of nearly 800 wild horses in southwest Wyoming. The Bureau of Land Management will round up the horses in an area where private, state, and federal lands intermingle. 

The Rock Springs grazing association had demanded the roundup because they say the horses are depleting resources from other wildlife and livestock in the area. 

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Open Spaces
6:04 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

A Plan of Firsts: Lander Resource Management Plan Tackles Big Picture

Sage Grouse
commons.wikimedia.org

The clock is ticking about whether to list the greater sage grouse as an endangered species.  Such a listing could all but shut down mineral development in the bird’s habitat.  The state has already tackled sage grouse protections.  Now it’s the federal government’s turn.  It’s been 30 years since the Lander Resource Management Plan was revised.  And so the Bureau of Land Management took the opportunity to put more protections in place for the grouse while they were at it. 

The Lander Resource Management Plan is hundreds of pages and covers a lot of ground. 

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Natural Resources & Energy
9:55 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Mule Deer Migration Route Passes Through A Variety Of Agency Lands

A mule deer migration route between the Red Desert and Hoback may present unique challenges to agencies and landowners.

The route is used twice a year by up to 5-thousand migrating deer. Hall Sawyer, a research biologist with Western Ecosystem Technologies says the discovery is a big one.

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Natural Resources & Energy
4:54 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Lander Land Use Plan Balances Community Priorities

Wind River Range
Credit Wikipedia

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a new plan for land use in the Wind River Basin today/Thursday, which supporters say balances the needs of industry, conservation, and recreation.

The new Resource Management Plan is the result of a cooperative process involving federal, state, and local agencies as well as land owners and recreation enthusiasts.

Wyoming representative for The Wilderness Society, Dan Smitherman, says that the plan’s release does not mean that the conversation about how best to use these lands is over.

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Natural Resources & Energy
5:54 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

New Fracking Project Proposed In Sage Grouse Country

A 5000-well oil and gas project proposed for the Powder River Basin is drawing sharp criticism from a wildlife advocacy group.  Erik Molvar with WildEarth Guardians says the drilling would take place right in the middle of critical sage grouse habitat.

“Well, the 5000 wells are projected in an area of over a million acres to the north of Douglas, stretching all the way up in the Thunder Basin National Grassland and including several core areas that have been proposed priority habitat for sage grouse,” Molvar says.

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Open Spaces
5:08 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Amid Boom, Regulators Struggle With Staffing

The newly discovered abundance of domestic oil and gas is creating a shortage of something else: the petroleum engineers who regulate drilling activities. Government petroleum engineers approve companies’ drilling plans and inspect wells after they’re completed to make sure they’re not at risk of contaminating water or blowing out, but as Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports, there just aren’t enough petroleum engineers to go around.  

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News
4:46 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

BLM Considers Limiting Development On Wilderness-Type Areas Near Rawlins

Wyoming's Red Desert.
Credit Joe Kiesecker

The Bureau of Land Management is considering protecting some areas in the Red Desert because of their scenic qualities.

The agency’s Sheila Lehman says they’re considering amending the Rawlins Resource Management Plan, to limit development on parcels of land with important wilderness characteristics.

“There’s the potential to maybe be able to preserve it a little bit more, or by mitigating certain things to keep that quality – that wilderness quality,” Lehman said.

Environmental groups are pleased.

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News
4:56 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

BLM Seeks New Horse Contraceptive Methods

The Bureau of Land Management is asking for nearly $3 million to spend on research into birth control for wild horses.

Population growth has made it difficult to manage wild horses, and currently the agency removes horses from public lands in order to maintain an adequate population.

A study by the National Research Council last year concluded that the current practice is flawed, and that the BLM should use birth control instead. But BLM spokesman Tom Gorey says the agency isn’t happy with the drug that’s available.

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News
6:44 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Forest Service Studies Impact Of Further Oil And Gas In Wyoming Range

The U.S. Forest Service is analyzing how additional oil and gas development would affect a 44,000-acre parcel of land in the Wyoming Range. The study will help the agency decide whether to allow energy leasing in the area.

The Petroleum Association of Wyoming says that because it’s multiple use land, the Forest Service should continue to allow oil and gas development. But Steve Kilpatrick with the Wyoming Wildlife Federation says new development in the Wyoming Range would harm important wildlife habitat.

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Open Spaces
4:41 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Researchers Map Migration Routes With An Eye To Protecting Wildlife

Wyoming has some of the longest wildlife migration routes in the nation.
Credit Joe Riis

Wyoming has some of the longest wildlife migration routes in the U.S. Animals travel in some cases over 100 miles from summer ranges to winter habitats. Protecting the migration routes is important for maintaining healthy populations. But land managers and other decision makers often don’t actually know where the animals travel. Now, scientists are tracking their routes. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

(Sound of deer walking along streambed)

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News
6:03 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Inspector General Focuses On Coal Leasing Problems

Coal sales in western states are under increased scrutiny from lawmakers after revelations of problems including reserves of the fuel sold at prices below market value.

A letter from the U.S. Department of Interior Inspector General released Friday shows federal officials in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico accepted below-market bids for coal or sold the fuel without full appraisals.

Inspectors said that violated federal rules including the 1920 Mineral Leasing Act, which requires coal sales to be competitive.

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News
5:33 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

BLM Seeks To Educate Public With New Horse Sanctuary

Credit Willow Belden

The Bureau of Land Management says educating the public is a key reason they’re proposing a wild horse sanctuary near Lander. It would be the second sanctuary of its kind in Wyoming.

The BLM regularly removes wild horses from public lands in the western U.S. and often, the animals are shipped to long-term pastures in the Midwest. But the BLM’s Scott Fluer says keeping them closer to home has some advantages.

“This would allow the public to be able to come out and take a look at these horses and be able to see them in more of a natural environment,” Fluer said.

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Natural Resources & Energy
7:55 am
Mon February 3, 2014

BLM Plan Would Add Sage Grouse Protections

Sage grouse in Wyoming could get new protections, if a Bureau of Land Management plan is adopted.

The agency is proposing to cap the amount of disturbance that can happen on public land where the bird lives, and to impose other rules designed to protect sage grouse habitat.

The BLM’s Lisa Solberg Schwab says part of their plan involves adopting the core area strategy that Wyoming has already established.

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Natural Resources & Energy
4:55 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Federal sage grouse protection plan draws criticism

The federal government released a new plan for managing sage grouse habitat in Wyoming on Friday. The Bureau of Land Management says the plan will allow for consistent policies across federal and state lands, while protecting the bird from an endangered species listing.

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News
11:42 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Pinedale water contamination mostly unconnected to gas production, study finds

A new Bureau of Land Management report indicates that most of the groundwater contamination near Pinedale was not caused by the energy industry.

After petroleum products showed up in water wells in the Pinedale Anticline gas field in 2006, several agencies launched an investigation to figure out where the contamination was coming from. They concluded that some pollution occurred naturally, as gas seeped upward through geologic layers and into the groundwater. The report says other pollutants came from the process of drilling and installing water wells.

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Natural Resources & Energy
5:49 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Luca bankruptcy reveals bonding issues

Bankrupt methane farming company Luca Technologies is planning to walk away from its wells on federal lands in Wyoming without plugging them. The company and its subsidiaries have between four and five hundred wells on federal lands, and COO Brian Cree says it's unlikely there will be enough money to clean them up.

“Those wells will just be turned back over to the federal government, and the federal government will be in a position to use their resources to plug and abandon those wells," Cree says.

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News
7:57 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Reclamation Center director urges more consistency from BLM

The head of the Wyoming Reclamation and Restoration Center says regulations for reclamation on federal land are not consistent.

Pete Stahl says different BLM field offices across the state have different requirements for reclaiming land after energy development and are inconsistent in how they monitor reclamation. He says when the BLM is evaluating reclamation success, they sometimes compare the reclaimed site to just one small area of undisturbed land, which he says is not enough for a scientific comparison.

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News
6:51 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Environmental groups worry Buffalo plan would allow development in non-reclaimable areas

Some environmental groups have concerns about a land use plan that the Bureau of Land Management has drafted for the Buffalo area.

Jill Morrison with the Powder River Basin Resource Council says until now, the BLM has placed restrictions on energy development in areas that can't  easily be reclaimed – for example, areas with steep slopes, or with fragile soil.

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News
7:02 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

BLM recieves one coal lease bid and rejects it

The Bureau of Land Management received a single bid at today’s/Wednesday’s coal lease sale and it has rejected that bid. 

Kiewit  Mining Properties bid 21-cents per ton on the Buckskin Mine Hay Creek Two tract. The tract has about 167-million tons of mineable coal and is adjacent to the Buckskin mine, which Kiewit operates.

However, the bid is the lowest the B-L-M has received since 2001.

B-L-M spokeswoman, Beverly Gorney, says ultimately the bid did not meet the B-L-M’s secret calculations of what’s considered fair market value.

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News
7:48 am
Wed September 18, 2013

BLM plan seeks to protect sage grouse near Buffalo

The Bureau of Land Management’s Buffalo office is hoping to ensure more rigorous protections for sage grouse in the area. It’s drafted a new Resource Management Plan – or land use plan – to replace the one that’s been in place since the 1980s.

The plan outlines four alternatives. Thomas Bills with the BLM says the agency’s preferred alternative would incorporate the governor’s Core Area strategy, which limits development in prime sage grouse breeding areas.

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Natural Resources & Energy
6:37 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Wyoming's fracking rules could be enhanced

This week the federal government will close testimony on proposed fracking rules. 

Opponents of fracking say the proposed federal regulations are too weak and those in Wyoming say they prefer the state’s rules. 

Deb Thomas of Clark has expressed concerns about fracking in Wyoming for a number of years.  She says Wyoming’s rules are strong, but she thinks they could also be improved.  

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News
4:24 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

BLM takes comment on proposed Fremont uranium mine

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is taking public comments on a proposed uranium mine in eastern Fremont County.

Canada-based Strathmore Resources proposes to mine uranium using conventional or open-pit methods and to process the uranium into yellowcake on site.

The BLM says surface disturbance with pits, spoils storage, material storage and roads and processing facilities would total about 2,000 acres.

Public comments are due to the BLM's Lander Field Office by Sept. 9.

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Coal Revenue
6:23 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Report: US government getting shortchanged by undervalued coal lease sales

Credit creative commons

The US government isn’t getting the full fair market value from coal lease sales on public lands. That’s according to a report released today by the Department of the Interior’s Office of Inspector General.


The report says recent lease sales potentially undervalued the coal by $62 million. The Bureau of Land Management appraises the leases instead of using the DOI’s Office of Valuation Services like its rules say it should, and the BLM does not take into account increased exports of coal abroad.

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Wild Horses
6:11 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

BLM considers reducing wild horse gathers this fall

The Bureau of Land Management says it will likely remove fewer wild horses from the range this fall than in the past.

  BLM Spokesoman Tom Gorey says that’s because they’re running out of space to put the horses.

  “We are almost maxed out in our long-term pastures in the Midwest and the short-term corrals we have in the West, where we put horses that we have removed from the range,” Gorey said. “And we try to adopt out as many as we can, but adoptions have been on the decline.”

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Wild horses
6:26 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Study finds BLM’s wild horse management practices are flawed

Credit worldtravelguide.net

A study by the National Research Council finds that the BLM’s management practices for wild horses are economically unsustainable and lack scientific justification.

  The BLM removes thousands of horses from public lands each year, to maintain a certain population size. But Guy Palmer, chairman of the committee that wrote the report, says the practice is expensive – and fundamentally flawed.

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News
6:41 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

BLM seeks public input on aerial and motorized wild horse round-up

The Bureau of Land Management will hear public feedback about the use of helicopters and motorized vehicles to round up wild horses at a meeting next month.

Wild Horse Specialist Ben Smith says the agency plans to remove nearly 600 feral horses in south-central Wyoming this year, leaving more than eleven-hundred on range land.

“The helicopter hearing is a hearing that we’re required annually to hold, to get the feedback from the public on the use of helicopters and motorized vehicles in wild horse and burro management,” says Smith.

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News
3:10 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Settlement with BLM calls for reducing wild horse numbers

A legal settlement between ranchers and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management would reduce wild horse numbers in southwest Wyoming by half or more.

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Industry News
6:44 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Governor wants a preferred plan concerning drilling project

Governor Matt Mead is urging the Bureau of Land Management to select a preferred alternative plan for oil and gas development in Carbon and Sweetwater Counties.

The BLM’s 900-page Draft Environmental Impact Statement focuses on the proposed Continental Divide-Creston Natural Gas Development, or CD-C Project. 

Governor Mead says the project could create thousands of jobs, but he wants to make sure it’s done right. 

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News
4:17 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Groups urge BLM to place environmental regs on gas development

Several environmental groups are urging the BLM to place environmental restrictions on a massive natural gas development that’s been proposed for south-central Wyoming.

The Continental Divide-Creston project would include about 9,000 new wells on public and private land near Wamsutter. That’s nearly three times as many wells as in the Jonah Field.

Bruce Pendery with the Wyoming Outdoor Council says air quality could suffer as a result.

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News
5:56 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

The BLM makes changes to the sales of wild horses and burros

The Bureau of Land Management has announced new restrictions on the sales of wild horses and burros.  

A recent ProPublica report alleged that thousands of wild horses bought from the BLM were sold to be slaughtered in Mexico.

Previously, buyers were permitted to buy an unlimited number of horses, but now a buyer can only purchase four horses or burros every six months. They must keep the animals for at least six months, describe where they’ll live, and provide safe transportation.

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