Questions for BLM
June 27, 2011
Can you tell me, at what stage are you going to actually analyze and disclose the environmental impacts of drilling on SG Interests’ leases in the Thompson Creek headwaters?
You let 13 of their 18 leases in a roadless area without any stipulation against road-building, in violation of the Roadless Rule. You’ve done no analysis on the leases as required by NEPA (the National Environmental Policy Act), either individually or as a group. Now SG wants to unitize them, effectively committing the proposed unit to development, and still no NEPA or public process.
And, need I mention, you approved the Bull Mountain Pipeline, which obviously opened the door to develop these leases, without analyzing this reasonably foreseeable development.
So, if not now, when?
Therefore, I ask that you deny SG Interests’ unitization proposal in the Thompson Creek area. And should you proceed with consideration of this unit proposal, I demand that a full environmental impact statement be prepared to assess and disclose potential impacts to the public.
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Approving an exploratory unit of this size in an area with so many incompatible values and uses is neither necessary nor advisable in the public interest. The public interest would be better served by letting these leases expire or making the operator prove them up individually.
The area is inappropriate for long-term natural gas development. Thompson Creek helps sustain local communities with clean water, clean air, undisturbed expanses for wildlife and game, opportunities for recreation, and lands important for livestock operators who rely on federal grazing permits. Much of the area is inventoried roadless and retains values of national significance.
The BLM must consider the abundant natural resources in the area that would be impacted by oil and gas development. On balance, this proposal will not properly conserve those natural resources. In fact, natural gas development in this area is likely to significantly degrade the natural resources that make Thompson Creek so unique.