Skip to comments.BLM issues draft programmatic EIS for western oil shale, tar sands
Posted on 02/07/2012 8:33:36 AM PST by thackney
The US Bureau of Land Management published a draft programmatic environmental impact statement and possible land use amendments for federally administered oil shale and tar sands acreage in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. It also opened a 90-day comment period on the proposals on Feb. 3.
The draft PEIS analyzes several land allocation and resource management alternatives, the US Department of the Interior agency noted. It said if it decides to adopt the preferred alternative, 461,965 acres would be available for research and development of oil shale (35,308 acres in Colorado, 252,181 acres in Utah, and 174,476 acres in Wyoming), and 91,045 acres in eastern Utah would be available for tar sands-related activities.
Because there are still many unanswered questions about the technology, water use, and impacts of potential commercial-scale oil shale development, we are proposing a prudent and orderly approach that could facilitate significant improvements to technology needed for commercial-scale activity, BLM Director Robert V. Abbey said. If oil shale is to be viable on a commercial scale, we must take a common-sense approach that encourages research and development first.
BLM said in addition, after the Government Accountability Office determined that water demand for oil shale resource development in the three states and other critical questions remain unanswered, the US Geological Survey will analyze baseline water resource conditions to improve understanding of groundwater and surface water systems which could be affected.
One oil and gas industry association was immediately critical. Within a week of encouraging an all of the above energy strategy, the administration continues to introduce actions that delay and restrict development, an American Petroleum Institute spokesman said. There has to be certainty, and the BLM draft plan is not conducive to an operating environment that encourages investment. The administration is continuing actions that send negative signals to industry and capital markets at exactly the wrong time for the American public.
The US Chamber of Commerce also responded negatively. On the same day that we saw increasing momentum in the labor market, the administration is again saying no to more energy production and no to more jobs, said Karen A. Harbert, president of the Chambers Institute for 21st Century Energy. This proposal will dramatically decrease the amount of public lands available for energy development. This is a step in the wrong direction and flies in the face of the claims made by the president in the state of the union address regarding his support for domestic energy production.
BLM said any new land allocation decisions made on the basis of the Final PEIS would replace land allocation decisions made in 2008 which proposed making up to 2 million acres of public lands available for commercial oil shale leasing in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming, and 431,000 acres available for tar sands leasing in Utah.
The agency said that it agreed to reconsider the matter after some communities in the region argued that the 2008 PEIS and Record of Decision would have prematurely allowed commercial leasing without technologies having been proven viable and without a clear understanding of impacts on scarce western water supplies.
Comments will be accepted until May 4, according to BLM. It said that it also plans to hold public meetings on the matter in Rifle, Colo.; Rock Springs, Wyo.; Vernal, Utah; and Salt Lake City, and will announce dates and locations at least 15 days in advance.
Current Public Involvement Opportunities Public involvement is a key component of the PEIS process. The BLM encourage all interested parties to continue to participate in the OSTS PEIS by submitting their comments and questions concerning the Draft Oil Shale and Tar Sands PEIS, attending public meetings, and reading PEIS publications and related materials.
The public now has the opportunity to review the Draft PEIS, which was published on February 3, 2012. The public comment period for the Draft OSTS PEIS began on February 3, 2012 and will close on May 4, 2012. Responses to comments received on the Draft OSTS PEIS will be included in the Final PEIS.
Written comments on the Draft OSTS PEIS can be submitted through the Public Comment Form. Submitting comments through the Public Comment Form is the preferred method for purposes of tracking and providing confirmation of receipt. However, comments can also be mailed to:
Draft OSTS PEIS Argonne National Laboratory 9700 S. Cass Ave. EVS/240 Argonne, IL 60439
The Draft PEIS and comment form are available through this Web site. See the Public Meetings page for a listing of meeting locations, dates, and times.
Comment Period Schedule The BLM will consider all comments on the Draft PEIS that are received or postmarked by May 4, 2012. Comments received or postmarked after that date will be considered to the extent practicable; however, there is no guarantee that such comments will be considered in preparation of the Final PEIS.
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Oil Shale and Tar Sands Public Comment Form
2012 Oil Shale and Tar Sands Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement
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Oil Shale and Tar Sands Public Comment Form
A major objection to fraccing is the amount of water used in a semi-arid region.
How much water is actually used? Anybody know?
I have a feeling that the oil companies can easily purchase water from a nearby farmer to operate.
A barrel of oil is worth way more than a bale of alfalfa.
This is typical Obama. He knows he’ll be hammered on this stuff during the election, so he issues orders which will take this off the table as an issue. But the nature of the orders guarantee that the whole thing continues to be tied up into the next decade.
Similar to the way he (twice now) has announced that the coasts are open for drilling, but somehow no one ever gets permission to actually drill.
Step one should be to deed over to the states all BLM land. BLM itself should be divided up and handed off to the states to do with as they like.
The federal government has no business being owning vast swaths of land, in fact they shouldn't own any land at all beyond what is required for military bases and office buildings.
Step two, for me, would be to sell off BLM land to the public, perhaps with first option to buy going to ranchers who are currently leasing BLM land. Unleased lands should be auctioned or else privatized by lottery.