Sec. Salazar announces oil and gas leasing reform

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.”