Last week, Director Neil Kornze of the Bureau of Land Management released a statement highlighting major public lands accomplishments in his summary of the BLM’s 2014 actions, including significant progress on issues related to conservation, energy, and public engagement. Western Values Project applauds Dir. Kornze’s leadership on a number of these priorities in the past year, particularly the BLM’s significant progress on establishing master leasing plans as a successful and inclusive planning tool for energy development and conservation. Wrote Director Kornze:
“In 2014, the BLM continued to move forward with Master Leasing Plans (MLPs) in areas where early planning can help ensure that oil and gas development goes forward while protecting other resource interests like ancient cultural artifacts, key wildlife habitat, and areas popular for recreation. In June, the BLM released its first MLP as part of the Lander Resource Management Plan. Several additional plans are in progress around the West.”
What’s more, Dir. Kornze also highlighted progress in providing for traditional energy development on BLM lands, while also taking steps, such as with the MLPs, to better balance that development with conserving our lands, air and water. Dir. Kornze pointed to strong production numbers on federal lands for 2014. In fact, domestic production from wells onshore on federal lands makes up 11% of the nation’s supply of natural gas and 5% of its supply of oil. This was highlighted alongside BLM’s strides with various conservation efforts, including those to protect Greater sage-grouse habitat.
Western Values Project would like to see continued success from the BLM in 2015. To us, this means continuing to use master leasing plans as the go-to planning tool for energy development on public lands—including finalizing MLPs for the lands around Dinosaur National Monument in western Colorado, and in the sportsmen’s paradise of North Park (also in Colorado). The BLM has also already made great strides in moving towards MLPs for the outdoor recreation mecca of Moab, UT and for the lands surrounding Chaco Canyon, NM, and we’d like to see them continue to move these MLPs along. Finally, the BLM has the opportunity to release a win-win regulation with its rule to limit venting and flaring of natural gas in 2015. We support the BLM in setting strong limits on methane emissions with this rule, limits that would cut down on wasted tax dollars and increase royalties for the public from western energy development.
It’s been a good year for the BLM. To read more about BLM’s accomplishments in 2014, click here.