Management Plan Amendment
Final Environmental Assessment
In recent years the BLM has experienced a tremendous increase in interest from oil and gas development companies for new lease nominations throughout Eddy County, including the Project Area. At present the BLM is deferring new lease nominations for oil and gas development within the Project Area until the RMPA is completed. However, site-specific applications are being considered on a case-by-case basis. Applications for oil and gas drilling activities on existing lease areas are reviewed on the ground and approved if negative effects to natural and cultural resources can be mitigated. Since Reclamation’s 2003 RMP did not evaluate the cumulative impacts of reasonably foreseeable future mineral leasing and development of Project Area resources, the purpose of the RMPA is to develop appropriate guidance that will allow Reclamation and BLM to make informed decisions about oil and gas leasing and development on Reclamation-administered lands in order to comply with existing guidelines and laws.
The result of this planning process will be an RMPA that identifies the lands within the Project Area that will be subject to the proposed stipulations and made available for oil and gas development through leasing and what requirements or stipulations are needed to manage those lands and protect other resource values. Any lands identified for development will need to follow the Section 106 National Historic Preservation Act process before work begins. This includes all federal mineral estates within the Project Area and future leases on lands conveyed to the CID in 2001. Stipulations that will be attached to future federal mineral leases and future CID mineral leases may include, but are not limited to, controlled surface use, timing limitations, or no surface occupancy. The RMPA document also will identify the circumstances necessary for granting waivers, exceptions, or modifications to leasing stipulations.
This EA identifies the potential impacts that various alternatives for minerals leasing and subsequent development activities could have on the environment, and appropriate measures to mitigate those impacts. The primary purpose is to analyze and document the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of reasonably foreseeable future actions resulting from Federally authorized minerals activities. By law these impacts must be analyzed before an agency makes an irreversible commitment of resources. In the minerals program, this commitment occurs at the point of lease issuance. The purpose of preparing an EA in conjunction with the RMPA is to satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, Council on Environmental Quality regulations implementing NEPA (40 CFR 1500-1508), and other associated regulations.
|Finding of No Significant Impact||
|Table of Contents||
|Chapter 1 - Purpose and Need||
|Chapter 2 - Alternatives||
|Chapter 3 - Affected Environment||
|Chapter 4 - Environmental Consequences||
|Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination||
|Final Biological Assessment||
|Resource Management Plan Amendment||