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Petroleum Association of Wyoming files formal protest of BLM’s final environmental analysis for oil and gas lease sale

(Dan Cepeda, Oil City News)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Petroleum Association of Wyoming has submitted a formal protest of the Bureau of Land Management’s final environmental analysis for its second quarter 2022 oil and gas lease sale.

The BLM’s final environmental analysis “slashes more than 76% of the acreage originally nominated for leases without sufficient explanation — despite being deemed available for leasing by the BLM’s own Resource Management Plans (RMP) across Wyoming,” PAW said in a Wednesday press release.

There were initially 459 parcels totaling 561,833 acres available for the oil and gas leasing in Wyoming that had previously gone through environmental reviews, but the BLM’s final environmental analysis reduced that to 129 parcels totaling 131,389 acres, according to PAW’s protest letter.

Reducing the number of parcels available in the oil and gas lease sale reduces opportunities for the oil and gas industry in the state, according to PAW.

“After withholding lease sales for more than a year, the BLM has been dragged, kicking and screaming, to the table by the federal courts,” Pete Obermueller, president of PAW said. “Yet, when presented with the opportunity to spur domestic production, they have opted to do less than the bare minimum and now expect the industry to be thankful for the crumbs they have been given.”

“Wyomingites know that energy produced domestically is more reliable, sustainable, and safer than overseas production while providing immeasurable benefits to the state and its residents. PAW will continue to work on behalf of the industry and the communities across Wyoming the industry supports.”

PAW’s position is that the BLM’s final environmental analysis violates the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, the Mineral Leasing Act and the Administrative Procedures Act.

“In addition to protesting the BLM’s overuse of presumed discretion in deferring parcels, PAW also takes issue with the BLM’s lack of inclusion of social benefits of domestically produced oil and natural gas and the BLM’s failure to justify why it is not adhering to its own RMP guidance regarding the Greater Sage-Grouse –— despite that guidance being completed in accordance with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976,” the press release states.

The full protest letter is available online.

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