BLM begins scoping for 2017 Northwest Colorado oil and gas leasing
The Bureau of Land Management White River Field Office is evaluating 100,000 acres in Northwest Colorado for oil and gas leasing in 2017.
To start the process, the BLM wants to hear from the public about issues and concerns that should be considered as the environmental assessment is prepared.
“It’s called scoping,” said BLM spokesman David Boyd. “What we’re really trying to do here is, before we begin writing the environmental assessment, is identify the issues that we need to address.”
The proposal includes four parcels totaling 1,928 acres in Moffat County; 25 parcels totaling 17,085 acres in Routty County; 45 parcels totaling 45,331 acres in Rio Blanco County; 12 parcels totaling 9,155 acres in Jackson County; and 20 parcels totaling 27,529 acres in Grand County.
Boyd said all four of the parcels in Moffat County are split estate with federal minerals on private land. In Routt County, 15,600 acres are split estate and the rest are all BLM.
Parcels are typically evaluated for leasing if there is an expression of interest from the private sector and no glaring conflicts with the BLM office’s land use plan.
The environmental assessments will evaluate the impact of development on sensitive resources that need to be protected by the BLM, such as the Greater Sage Grouse.
Even when it does not own the surface area, the federal government can make recommendations on how that earth is treated when recovering federal minerals.
Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe said the parcels proposed for leasing are on private property away from sage grouse territory so he is hopeful for development.
“It depends on what stipulations BLM puts on the leases,” Grobe said.
Grobe said the four 2,000 acres are nothing compared to what Moffat County used lease but it is still helpful revenue.
BLM leases last for 10 years if they are not developed, which Boyd said is not uncommon. A 12.5 percent royalty rate is collected on minerals produced from active leases.
Colorado keeps 49 percent of the proceeds from mineral lease sales and mineral royalties, which are distributed back to the counties, and the rest goes to the federal government.
According to a news release from BLM, “In fiscal year 2015, Colorado received about $247 million from royalties, rentals and bonus bid payments for all federal minerals, including oil and gas.”
The scoping period for May 2017 lease sales in Northwest Colorado concludes on Sept. 7 and an environmental assessment will be available for public comment on Nov. 9.
For materials and to submit comments visit http://on.doi.gov/2b39pWq.
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