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A Guy Named Craig May Soon Have Control Over a Large Swath of Utah

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SOURCE:  The New Yorker

“the B.L.M. has scheduled nearly twenty oil-and-gas-lease sales on federal land nationwide through the end of 2020, and the Administration has shrunk the size of wildernesses and national monuments, paving the way for more drilling… It is a classic land rush.”

Even if you’ve never been to the vast red-rock desert country around Moab, Utah, you’ve been there—its mesas and buttes, its towering arches, have been the backdrop for a thousand movies (and even more S.U.V. commercials). It’s what we think about when we think about “the West,” a truly mythic place. Some of it has been protected in national monuments and parks: Arches and Canyonlands. But the fate of a large swath of it, though nominally belonging to the American people, may soon fall to a guy named Craig Larson.

Here’s the story so far. Under a long-standing law known as the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, anyone can “nominate” a parcel of federal land for oil-and-gas development—it doesn’t cost a thing. The rules are so lax that you don’t even have to supply your name if you want to nominate a piece of land, but Prairie Hills Oil & Gas did provide at least that much context when it asked the federal Bureau of Land Management to set aside land between Arches and Canyonlands. Prairie Hills Oil & Gas, of North Dakota, it turns out, is headquartered at a home that Larson, an attorney, co-owns in Big Lake, Minnesota, about forty miles northwest of Minneapolis. After the land is nominated, and certain review processes are completed, the B.L.M. moves to set up a lease auction, which, in the case of Larson and Utah, is scheduled for September. (Although Larson has nominated the parcels, anyone, in fact, could be the ultimate winning bidder.)

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

Add your 2 cents against leasing public lands for as little as $2 an acre for oil & gas

2 Comments

Please submit a comment to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in your own words, asking that the minimum rate per acre for oil and gas leasing be MUCH higher than $2 an acre, and ask the BLM to remove caps established by current regulations on civil penalties that may be assessed under the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act.

Most importantly, be sure to demand that the BLM NOT approve any more land for oil & gas development/leasing on Wild Horse & Burro Herd Management Areas (HMAs) (since there supposedly isn’t enough water and forage for wild horses and burros on their federally protected HMAs).

wis.Par.69820.Image.200.135.1  (photo:  BLM)
BLM Extends Public Comment Period to June 19, 2015 on Oil and Gas Royalty Rulemaking

SOURCE: goldrushcam.com

May 29, 2015- WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced today that it is extending the public comment period on its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) to seek public comment on potential updates to BLM rules governing oil and gas royalty rates, rental payments, lease sale minimum bids, civil penalty caps and financial assurances.

Notice of the two-week extension, which extends the comment period deadline to June 19, 2015, will be published in the Federal Register on June 3, 2015.

Modernizing the BLM’s royalty rate structures can provide greater flexibility, especially given the dramatic growth of oil development on public and tribal lands, where production has increased in each of the past six years, and combined production was up 81 percent in 2014 versus 2008. Potential changes to BLM’s regulations would also respond to concerns expressed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Interior’s Office of Inspector General, and others that the BLM’s existing rules lack flexibility and could be causing the United States to forgo significant revenue to the detriment of taxpayers.

The GAO has repeatedly concluded that the BLM’s regulations do not provide a reasonable assurance that the public is getting appropriate fair share of the revenue from these resources. The BLM’s current rules lack the flexibility to offer new competitive leases at higher royalty rates.

The ANPR also addresses the value of these resources by inviting comment on how the BLM might update its rules regarding the minimum acceptable bid that must be paid by parties seeking a lease at auction, and the annual rental payments that are due after a lease is obtained. The current minimum acceptable auction bid is $2 per acre, which is well below the rate at which most parcels sell, suggesting that the rate could be higher. After obtaining a lease, a lessee is currently required to make annual rental payments until the lease starts producing oil or gas. These rental rates currently are $1.50 per acre for the first five years and $2 for years five through 10. The ANPR invites comment on how rental payments might be better structured to incentivize diligent development of leased areas.

The BLM encourages the public to be actively engaged in this process by submitting comments on the revised proposed rule before June 19 in one of the following ways:

Mail: U.S. Department of the Interior, Director (630), Bureau of Land Management, Mail Stop 2134 LM, 1849 C St. NW, Washington, DC, 20240, Attention: 1004-AE41.

Personal or messenger delivery: Bureau of Land Management, 20 M. St. SE, Room 2134 LM, Attention: Regulatory Affairs, Washington, DC 20003.

Online at the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments at this Website.

To read the original advance notice of public rulemaking go to: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-04-21/pdf/2015-09033.pdf

Public Comment on Battle Mountain District Drought Management Plan

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Debbie Coffey

____________________________________________________________________________

“This COCKAMAMIE BLM “Drought Management Plan” is just another example of the mismanagement of our public lands by the Bureau of Land Management.”

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May 16, 2012

Mr. Douglas W. Furtado, District Manager
Battle Mountain District Office
50 Bastian Road
Battle Mountain, NV 89820

bmfoweb@blm.gov

RE: Public Comment on Battle Mountain District Drought Management Plan

Dear Mr. Furtado:

I urge you to implement the No Action Alternative, so that your office will do an Environmental Assessment (EA) for each proposed wild horse roundup.  Since the BLM has a mandate to protect the wild horses, the BLM should haul water out and provide forage before an emergency, and avoid rounding up the horses and foals born out of season (due to PZP), so they don’t drop dead running in the heat.

If you anticipate a drought, make plans to haul water out to the wild horses and livestock.  It’s a lot cheaper to haul water than to pay millions of dollars for roundups and to put ranchers out of business.

Regarding 1.1 Purpose and Need, which states:

“The purpose of the EA is to analyze alternatives that would allow for the rapid response to drought in order to alleviate the impacts of authorized uses and activities on natural resources that are at risk of being adversely affected by drought. More

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