July 10, 2018
The public comment period for greater sage grouse closes on August 2. Please let us know if you plan to submit comments. Please use this link to the BLM comment site: bit.ly/2KjfiQD
As context: BLM issued draft environmental impact statements on May 2 to amend its 2015 greater sage grouse plans. The drafts are issued for each of these including Colorado, opened a 90-day public comment period on May 4. We hope that the 2015 Colorado plan remains intact but there likely will be some tweeking. The 2015 plan was developed through collaboration among federal, state and local governments, conservation organizations, agriculture and industry. the plan "clarifies" mitigation requirements.
Here are the points we are making:
--Keep strong standards for enforcing "no surface occupancy" and other protections from oil and gas leasing and development in greater sage grouse habitat. Ensuring that the least amount of ground is disturbed means less habitat is destroyed and a stronger chance for grouse to continue to use an area slated for development.
--The BLM should honor the state's commitment to ensure damage to habitat is limited and, where damage cannot be avoided, that grouse habitat is restored or other habitat is improved or acquired. BLM has an obligation to avoid and mitigate harm to wildlife from energy development and other activities in grouse habitat.
--BLM should ot make changes to the Colorado plan beyond those supported by the state and stakeholders.