Has “energy dominance” lost a battle?

Opponents of fracking on the Wayne National Forest filed a lawsuit last spring alleging the failure of the BLM and Forest Service to comply with NEPA and the Endangered Species Act in authorizing oil and gas leasing.  They argued that when the forest plan was revised in 2006 it didn’t address the effects of fracking.  …

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California national monuments pay off, and are intact so far, but not DRECP

Here’s some anecdotal evidence supporting the economic arguments for national monument designation. Two years ago today, President Barack Obama created three new national monuments in the California desert: called Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains. Supporters held a community event to celebrate, noting that tourism to the area has increased significantly, as people …

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What if forest plans were a blank check?

There’s an interesting observation in this opinion piece about the process for amending the Allegheny forest plan to allow construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. It required replacing standards in the forest plan for this “project” – here’s one of them: “Standard SW06: Severe rutting resulting from management activities shall be confined to less than 5 …

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Sage grouse planning do-over

This article discusses the last Trump/Zinke twist in the effort to prevent sage listing of the greater sage grouse under ESA.  While sage grouse habitat on federal lands is mostly under BLM jurisdiction, the Forest Service is also a big player, and 20 forest plans were amended in 2015 to include conservation measures that were …

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Planning for pipelines – not

A Draft Record of Decision document released by the United States Forest Service would allow 11 exceptions to the Jefferson National Forest Plan and adopt an amendment that allows old growth forests, rare species and wetlands to be destroyed by the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline. The Draft Record of Decision (ROD)  states that “the proposed …

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“Political” personnel moves afoot at BLM?

“Sources” say three BLM state directors are being moved: “Alaska, Colorado and New Mexico have all been involved in controversial energy development and natural resource issues in the past few years, and sources say Interior brass do not view the three state directors at issue as being compatible with the Trump administration’s stated push to …

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Fracking on the Wayne protested

This would be the first approval of fracking on this national forest, and it required a supplemental information review of the impacts of fracking, because that was not addressed in the 2006 forest plan.  I was curious about how the analysis would address the potential for earthquakes, based on what has been happening in Oklahoma. …

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Another payoff from standards in forest plans

This time mandatory standards ensure that a proposed pipeline project will protect water quality: In Bath County, the Forest Service said an access road that impacts a wild brook trout stream, Laurel Run, “is unacceptable because it parallels the stream channel with the riparian corridor for much of its length and has numerous stream crossings.” …

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New national forest multiple use clears local permitting hurdle

The Deerfield wind energy project on the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont is a step closer to reality.  I wonder about the special use permit requirement that permits may be granted only if the proposed use cannot reasonably be accommodated on non-National Forest System lands.

Fracking on the Wayne National Forest – no significant impact

This story got me to look closer at planning for fracking on national forests.  The reason the BLM can say this in their EA is arguably because a lease does not “authorize surface disturbing activities.”  Here’s the way it works. “The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposes to lease up to approximately 40,000 federally-owned minerals …

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