July 03–Hundreds of acres of public lands in three states could be leased to the oil and gas industry for extraction operations, during the federal Bureau of Land Management’s December lease sale.
And most of it is in southeast New Mexico.
In total, 133 parcels of federal mineral rights in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma were proposed for the December sale, read a BLM news release.
The tracts proposed for sale include 40 in Eddy County, 34 in Sandoval County, 16 in Chaves County, 14 in Lea County, three each in McKinley, Rio Arriba and San Juan counties, and one in Roosevelt County.
A public scoping period was planned for July 9 to 20, read the release, to solicit input from the public.
The parcels were nominated by oil and gas industry representatives, and the public scoping period — as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) — allows members of the public to voice any concerns with the industry’s desired parcels.
Statements garnered from the scoping period will be used to develop an environmental assessment as required by NEPA, and the BLM is hoping to identify any unconsidered impacts related to the sale, read the release, or alternatives to the proposed parcels.
“This scoping process is intended to solicit public input on relevant issues, potential impacts, and alternatives that the BLM should address in an environmental assessment to be prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act,” read the release.
“The BLM will consider all substantive comments received during the public scoping period to ensure the potential environmental consequences are analyzed in a manner that allows the BLM to make an informed decision about the proposed competitive lease sale.”
The public scoping period will be followed by a nine-day protest period from Oct. 22 to 31, allowing for more public comments in opposition to the sale.
In Oklahoma, two parcels are proposed to be leased in Dewey and Woods counties, and one is intended to be offered in Blaine, Custer, Ellis, Harper and Alfalfa counties.
The parcels in Texas include eight in McMullen and two in Live Oak counties.
Those interested can file written comments online through the BLM, or call BLM Land Law Examiner Lourdes Ortiz at 505-954-2146.
Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-628-5516, firstname.lastname@example.org or @AdrianHedden on Twitter.
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