The BLM oil lease along the Beartooth Front in northern Wyoming for which public comment ended on February 23 has been cleared for sale on August 5. The BLM had earlier issued a finding of No Significant Impact against its environmental standards.
Residents and concerned citizens requested deferral of the proposed sale for many reasons:
- Wildlife concerns: location near an occupied greater sage-grouse lek, and habitat of diverse native animals
- Adjacent to public lands: The area is an important hunting and fishing area, and brings recreational activities important to the area’s economy.
- Includes privately held land that has been damaged by oil and gas drilling: The parcel includes property in the Line Creek Wilderness Subdivision that endured a well blowout in 2006 from which it has not recovered nine years later.
According to documents posted on the BLM web site, the lease, formerly identified as 1508-237 and now renamed Parcel 72, has been approved for sale
The parcel was screened for greater sage-grouse deferral criteria, and did not meet those standards. It was also screened against a checklist of wilderness characteristics, including, among others, amount of roadless land, opportunities for primitive recreation, significant natural features, and did not meet any of the deferral criteria according to the BLM.
You can read a summary of the letters filed by local residents, with BLM response to each, by clicking here.
The BLM’s decision is extremely disappointing. This parcel is just upstream from the Silvertip Zone in Belfry, where residents have banded together to require local regulation of oil drilling.