From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 7, Number 5 - April 26, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

BLM extends draft RMP comment period
Comments on draft plan to be taken through June 18
by Joy Ufford

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has extended by one month the comment period for its Pinedale-area draft resource management plan/environmental impact statement (RMP/EIS).

That means the BLM’s deadline is moved back from May 18 to June 18 for the public to submit comments about the RMP, according to BLM Public Affairs Officer Rey Adame.

The extension came about to give agencies and the public more time to review the document and make specific comments, according to RMP Team Leader Kellie Roadifer of the BLM’s Pinedale District.

“There were a number of requests at the public hearing in Pinedale and also a request from the governor,” Roadifer said. “He has a lot of pull.”

As of Monday, the agency had received less than 20 comments and those are mainly of “a pretty general nature,” Roadifer said, adding that they aren’t specific enough to characterize whether there is tendency to support the draft RMP or not.

“Usually most of them will come in the last week (of a comment period), Roadifer said.

Twenty-one people spoke up at the BLM’s April 11 public hearing on the document – most of them against drilling – and those comments are in the process of bring transcribed, according to Roadifer.

Why a new RMP?

Oil and gas development is one of the big reasons the new RMP was drafted, Roadifer said, but not the only one.

“There were a number of issues (the current RMP) is either silent on or inadequate” in addressing, she said.

Adame said in an April 18 press release that the draft EIS/RMP was initiated because “BLM has decided to revise the current RMP due to the latest knowledge about natural gas reserves, technology for retrieving gas, wildlife species and increased demand for public lands resources.”

However, Adame focuses mainly on statistics and expectations for future oil and gas development in the press release.

“This RMP will provide future direction for managing 922,880 acres of BLM-administered surface land and 1.2 million acres of BLM-administered mineral estate in the planning area, including Wyoming’s Sublette and Lincoln counties,” he said

Proposed and Preferred

At issue are future levels of gas production and of environmental protection for wildlife and other BLM resources.

The four alternatives outlined in the draft EIS are:

• Alternative One: Continued management as is currently described in the 1988 RMP.

• Alternative Two: Maximum oil and gas resource production with an “adequate” level of environmental protection for other resources.

• Alternative Three: Maximum level of environmental protection for all competing resources while allowing oil and gas resource production.

• Alternative Four: This is the BLM’s preferred alternative. Optimize oil and gas resource production with an “appropriate” level of environmental protections for all competing resources.

Alternative Four, the preferred alternative, would open up about 1.025 million acres for oil and gas leasing and development.

“The total new wells will equal 8,383 (7,136 federal and 1,247 non-federal),” said Adame in the press release. “Approximately two-thirds of the projected wells would occur in the Jonah and Pinedale Anticline fields.”

Using current prices and technology, anticipated mineral production over the (draft) RMP’s 20-year life is 19.2 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas and 150 million barrels of oil, Adame wrote.

“Under the preferred alternative, regional income is expected to exceed $6.9 billion, employment is expected to average more than 10,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs a year. The present value of mineral tax revenues would be expected to be slightly more than $11.7 billion.

“Mitigation measures and performance-based management incorporated in the Preferred Alternative would limit impacts to wildlife habitat and populations, but would not eliminate impacts,” he wrote. “Some reductions in wildlife habitat, including greater sage-grouse, mule deer, elk and pronghorn antelope could occur.”

Read it and comment

• The RMP/draft EIS is available for review on the Pinedale RMP Revision Web site at

• The same Web site contains an electronic comment form so anyone can comment by resource subject.

• Comments can be uploaded in an electronic file directly to the above Web site.

• Emailed comments can be sent to with “RMP/EIS” written in the subject line.

• Written comments can be mailed or delivered to the BLM at:

Pinedale RMP/EIS

Attn: Kellie Roadifer

Bureau of Land Management, Pinedale Field Office Manager

PO Box 768, 432 Mill St.

Pinedale, WY 82941

Those who submit comments to the BLM about the RMP/EIS need to know that their names and addresses could become part of the public record.

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