BLM

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.  

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

Peabody Energy has been awarded a coal lease sale by the Bureau of Land Management for roughly $793-million. The tract is located in the Powder River Basin, and Peabody paid about a $1.10 per ton of coal, of which 721 million tons are estimated to be mineable.

Governor Matt Mead says the sale will be good for the state.

“It’s just short of 800 million dollars, which means over a course of about five years, Wyoming will get a little less than 400 million dollars from that sale,” says Mead.

On Friday, the Bureau of Land Management released new proposals to regulate hydraulic fracturing on public and tribal lands.

Proponents have seen the rules as base-line protection for residents in all states, opponents see them as redundant and bad for business.

Governor Mead says he’s troubled by the rules because Wyoming’s Fracking standards are already more stringent than what the federal government is proposing.

Environmentalists have filed a lawsuit seeking to derail efforts by the federal government to lease an estimated 2 billion tons of coal near two major Wyoming mines.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. targets four recent and proposed coal lease sales in the Powder River Basin.

The Sierra Club and Wild Earth Guardians say mining and burning coal from the federal leases would release huge amounts of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, exacerbating climate change.

 

The BLM has drafted an Environmental Impact Statement on a proposed uranium mine near Rawlins. The project would stretch over more than 4,000 acres of land and would use in-situ technology, where they inject fluid into the ground to extract the uranium and then bring it to the surface to process.

Dennis Carpenter, the BLM’s Rawlins Field Manager, says the project doesn’t raise many concerns.

“It’s a pretty small project by most of our standards,” Carpenter said, adding that the area has been mined in the past.

The Bureau of Land Management is proposing to keep hundreds of wild horses at a private ranch near Laramie. The BLM removes hundreds of horses from public lands each year to prevent the range from getting over-crowded, and they usually send the horses to long-term pastures in the mid-west.

Dennis Carpenter is the BLM’s Field Manager in Rawlins. He says keeping the horses here should be slightly cheaper, because the ranch will be open to tourists – for a fee.

The Bureau of Land Management has drastically cut the amount of land it plans to open up for oil shale and tar sands development in Wyoming, Colorado and Utah.

The BLM’s 2008 environmental impact statement would have allowed 2 million acres to be open for Oil Shale Research, Development, and Demonstration Leases.

Conservation groups joined to sue the BLM for endangering wilderness lands and core sage-grouse habitat, and reached a settlement last year. As a result of that settlement the BLM released a new plan Friday that would open up only 461,000 acres to RD&D leases.

    As the Bureau of Land Management begins to offer greater protections for Sage Grouse, those in the conservation community are welcoming the news.  Steve Holmer with the American Bird Conservancy says with the Sage Grouse listed as a candidate for Endangered Species Act Protection the new approach is overdue.  

Holmer-"You know, I think to their credit, BLM is trying to get ahead of this issue. We’re pleased to see the BLM adopt this strategy – they’re on the right track."

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is giving the public additional time to weigh in on a proposed wind power project near Rock Springs.

The BLM also is holding a public meeting on the Quaking Aspen wind project. That meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday at the Holiday Inn in Rock Springs.

The BLM announced Tuesday that a public comment period originally set to end Wednesday is now being extended until Dec. 27.

Evergreen Wind Power Partners proposes to put up to 100 wind turbines in an area 11 miles southeast of Rock Springs.

Garfield County commissioners are supporting a proposed Bureau of Land Management plan for oil shale
development in three states.

The commissioners got an early look at the BLM's alternative draft management proposal and voted unanimously to support it this week.

Commissioner Tom Jankovsky says the proposal would cut 421 square miles from the proposed 3,125 square miles
allocated for possible oil shale development in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah.

The biggest area removed would be the 182-square-mile Adobe Town area in Wyoming.

The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comments on a company's plans to drill up to 88 new wells in western Wyoming.

Chevron USA, Inc., is proposing to expand the Table Rock Field 40 miles east of Rock Springs with 33 shallow oil wells and 20 deep gas wells. As many as 35 water injection wells also would be drilled.

The BLM says just over 300 acres would be disturbed and the wells would have a lifespan of between 40 and 55 years.

Pages