January 7, 2010
Oil and gas leasing policy reforms on federal public lands announced by Secretary Salazar on January 6:
New guidance to BLM field managers. BLM is to take a more active role in determining which parcels will be offered at lease auction sales. Secretary Salazar noted that in 1998 slightly more than 1 percent of leases were protested. In 2008 40 percent were protested. [CWF protested leases of federal public lands parcels that were in critical wildlife habitat - migratory corridors, greater sage grouse leks, etc. ]
New guidance on issuing categorical exclusions to eliminate their use in "extraordinary circumstances."
[CWF, Wyoming Wildlife Federation and New Mexico Wildlife Federation wrote a Guest Commentary in the Denver Post on November 17, 2009 stating why categorical exclusions had become a "tool" to accelerate approval of drilling permits. "Loose rules let oil and gas drilling alter the West."