On the last business day of 2016 the BLM released the DEIS on its proposed 20-year withdrawal of approximately 10 million acres of “sagebrush focal areas” (SFAs) in six western states from mineral location and entry under the General Mining Law.  At the same time, the BLM temporarily “segregated” almost 400,000 more acres in Nevada that the State of Nevada has proposed as a substitute for nearly 500,000 acres within SFAs considered by the State to have high mineral potential or limited sage-grouse habitat.  As described in our article last year in the American Bar Association’s mining newsletter, the BLM started this process in September 2015 as a key part of the justification for not listing the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act.  (That article also describes what the BLM’s proposal means for mining on these lands in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming, and the multiple lawsuits that have been filed challenging the federal government’s actions.)

Continue Reading Sage Grouse Update: BLM Issues Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on Proposed Withdrawal of 10 Million Acres

On January 6, 2017, the federal Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) issued a notice of Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment (“DRMP Amendment”) and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (“DEIS”) for oil and gas leasing and development on federal lands administered by the BLM, Central Coast Field Office (“Planning Area”).  82 Fed. Reg. 1754 (Jan. 6, 2017).  The DRMP Amendment and DEIS describe and analyze alternatives for the planning and management of leasing and development in the Planning Area, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.  The BLM administers approximately 284,000 acres of surface estate and 793,000 acres of federal mineral estate within the Planning Area.

Continue Reading Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment Released for Central California Federal Lands