The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposes to offer four parcels, totaling approximately 4,376.5 acres, at the June competitive oil and gas lease sale. The parcels are located in Grand and San Juan counties on public lands managed by the BLM’s Moab Field Office. The BLM has initiated a 30-day public comment period on the environmental assessment that ends on March 26, 2020.

No parcels were proposed to be offered until today’s announcement. Two parcels, specifically 11 and 12, which are located within the Sand Flats Special Recreation Management Area near Moab, Utah, will not be included in the June 2020 competitive oil and gas lease sale. The BLM deferred the two parcels during the internal and consulting party review period. An anonymous party nominated the parcels in November 2019. Although the BLM does not speculate on who nominates an individual parcel, it has received nominations in the past that were not made for the purposes of purchasing or developing a lease.

“Last fall, I enjoyed an amazing 10-mile bike ride on trails in the Moab area,” said BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs William Perry Pendley. “I gained a personal appreciation, first, for the unique recreation opportunities available on Utah’s public lands, and second, I was amazed at how well multiple uses coexisted. To the west there are dozens of federal oil and gas leases and to the east are not only some of the most famous mountain biking trails, which are enjoyed by people of all abilities and ages, but also one of the nation’s most magnificent and frequently visited national parks.”

Responsible energy development includes thoughtful consideration of parcels nominated for leasing as well as the potential resource impacts of decisions to lease. The act of leasing does not authorize any development or use of the surface of leased lands without further application by the operator and approval by the BLM. An additional environmental review will take place at the Application for Permit to Drill stage, where site specific Conditions of Approval will be placed on the permit in addition to the lease stipulations.

Public Comments

To ensure that comments apply to the parcels actually proposed for a lease sale, the BLM encourages the public to submit comments during the official public comment period (as initiated with the release of the EA here). The BLM does not analyze comments that are not specific to parcels identified in the EA because they are outside the scope of the proposed action.