Posted on June 15, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A lawsuit in federal court could delay new oil and gas development in California. Photo via BLM.
Lawsuit say agency’s plan violates federal environmental laws
FRISCO — A federal plan to open more public lands in California to energy development will be tested in court, with Earthjustice filing a lawsuit to block fracking across California’s Central and San Joaquin valleys; the southern Sierra Nevada; and in Santa Barbara; San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties along California’s central coast.
At issue is a Bureau of Land Management resource plan for the region that has already been called into question in 2013, when a federal judge ruled that the BLM violated the law when it issued oil leases in Monterey County without considering the environmental risks of fracking. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling | Tagged: BLM, California, Earthjustice, Environment, fracking, public lands | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 3, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Regional plan helps speed reviews
New solar energy projects are sprouting across the sunny Southwest.
FRISCO — Up-front planning helped speed three big new solar projects through the federal review process, the U.S. Department of Interior said this week, touting the administration’s Western Solar Plan as a model for renewable energy development on public lands.
The plan mapped out solar energy development zones in areas where there was little potential for conflicts over resources. The reviews three new projects in Clark County, Nevada, where completed in 10 months, about half the time it previously took under the project-by-project system. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, energy, Environment, global warming, renewable energy | Tagged: BLM, public lands, renewable energy, solar energy, Solar energy zones, Western Solar Plan | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 29, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Last, best hope for endangered birds?
FRISCO — If plans, press releases and political mud-slinging could help greater sage-grouse, the majestic western bird would be well on the way to recovery. But the only thing that will really help the imperiled species is on-the-ground action — protecting and restoring the habitat the birds need to survive.
A series of proposed land-use plans released by the federal government this week aims to do just that, by minimizing and avoiding new disturbance to habitat, restoring habitat when possible and reducing threats like wildfires and invasive species. Here’s a fact sheet. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, energy, Environment | Tagged: BLM, endangered species, energy, Greater sage-grouse, public lands, U.S. Forest Service | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 9, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
The BLM is eying sagebrush restoration work.
Great Basin projects to bolster sage-grouse habitat
FRISCO — Federal land managers want to stem the loss of sagebrush habitat with a $4 million series of projects across the Great Basin.
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said the Bureau of Land Management projects will reduce the threat of more frequent and intense wildfires that are damaging sagebrush landscapes and productive rangelands. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, biodiversity, BLM, endangered species, Environment, public lands | Tagged: BLM, Environment, Great Basin, Greater sage-grouse, public lands | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Formal protest says BLM violated planning regulations
Thousands of new fossil fuel wells could take a toll on wildlife in northwest Colorado.
FRISCO — Conservation and wildlife advocacy groups are protesting a new federal plan that covers oil and gas drilling and fracking in the northwestern Corner of Colorado.
The recently published resource management plan amendment for Bureau of Land Management’s White River Field Office failed to meet legal requirements because it didn’t consider special areas of environmental concern, the groups wrote in their formal April 27 protest letter. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: BLM, BLM White River field office, Colorado, endangered species, fracking, Greater sage-grouse, Piceance Basin, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 25, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Colorado AG claims BLM regs ‘invade’ state authority
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO —Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is challenging the federal government’s ability to regulate oil and gas development on federal public lands in the state. In a quiet Friday news dump, Coffman announced her department is suing the federal government over new fracking rules issued in March.
The lawsuit claims the federal rules “invade” the state’s regulatory authority, a similar argument over jurisdiction used by Gov. Hickenlooper and his administration when they sued a local jurisdiction that sought to impose fracking rules in a case that has since been dismissed. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling, public lands | Tagged: BLM, Colorado, Environment, fracking, public lands | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 20, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
An aerial view show a spreading network of drilling roads spreading on public lands in eastern Utah.
Lease practices, bonding requirements and royalty rates on the table in planned revision
FRISCO — The federal government wants to update rules governing oil and gas royalty rates and other financial aspects of oil and gas development on public lands.
In a rule-making notice to be published in the Federal Register this week, the Department of Interior said it will take public comment on rental payments, lease sale minimum bids, civil penalty caps and financial assurances for oil and gas operations.
“It’s time to have a candid conversation about whether the American taxpayer is getting the right return for the development of oil and gas resources on public lands,” Interior Secretary Jewell, said in a statement. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, energy, Environment, federal government, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling, public lands | Tagged: BLM, Department of Interior, federal oil and gas royalty rates, oil and gas drilling. public lands, public lands lease rates, Sally Jewell | Leave a comment »