BLM Releases Report on Utah Oil and Gas Leases
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today received a special Bureau of Land Management report on a controversial 2008 oil and gas lease sale in Utah that recommended development of a comprehensive interagency strategy to address leasing. The review also made recommendations concerning 77 leases that Secretary Salazar had withdrawn pending further investigation.
Topic: The report recommended that 17 leases could be reoffered for sale, 52 would be deferred and that 8 parcels should be withdrawn. The decisions were made after on-the-ground inspection by an interdisciplinary team.
“The report is relatively straight-forward; there were 77 lease parcels that were subject to this controversy. Of the 77 lease parcels, 17 of them, based on the recommendation of the committee are ready to go, they are available to lease. On the other hand, eight of them are inappropriate for leasing for a variety of reasons and they should not be leased and will use all of our regulatory authorities to make sure that those eight lease parcels are not leased. And there are 52 which will be deferred from leasing at this point in time until further work can be done with respect to those particular lease parcels.”
Topic: The report examined how the leasing process works and made recommendations to improve it.
“The report has made some very important recommendations that really are the foundation for change on how we will develop our oil and gas resources on public lands. As we examine those recommendations in the days ahead, what I will have in mind in determining how we move forward with the regulatory reforms, which will also include a Secretarial Order, are the following; One, we will make sure that our public lands are being managed to protect our land, our water and our wildlife, and second all we will support the develop of oil and gas in the right places and in the right way.”
Topic: Secretary Salazar said that improving the way oil and gas is developed is part of the department's reform agenda.
“It’s a new day. We came into this department on a reform agenda. It’s a new beginning for us relative to how we deal with our public lands and development of energy and our oil and gas resources. And we’ve done that with renewable energy, we’re doing it with oil and gas resources. So we’ll continue to develop oil and gas, but we will develop oil and gas in the right way. And so that’s part of what we will be announcing in the days ahead as we move forward with our reform agenda, learning from the recommendations that are set forward in this report.”
Topic: Deputy Secretary David Hayes says future guidance will help both the department and the industry by eliminating confusion.
“I think that’s one of the most important recommendations coming out of this report, is provide some guidance so that decisions can be made, everyone knows the rules, and that includes … we think per the Secretary’s comments that this will help industry as well. It’ll provide more of a roadmap of the areas that make the most sense for oil and gas leasing, where for example infrastructure is where it makes the most sense and provide clarity and sweep away what is happening out there now, where every lease is protested.”