(press release) — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public comment on the environmental assessment (EA) for the Wind River/Bighorn Basin District portion of the August 2015 oil and gas lease sale.

The initial list of parcels derived from public nominations within the Wind River/Bighorn Basin District contains 77 nominated parcels totaling 108,486.300 federal mineral acres. Of the 77 parcels, four full parcels and 11 partial parcel totaling 18,736.340 federal mineral acres were recommended for deferral and not further analyzed in the EA due to being within the Greater Sage-Grouse Core Area.

Another seven full and 21 partial parcels totaling 32,436.800 federal mineral acres were deferred for other reasons; 52 full or partial parcels were brought forward for analysis. The parcels are offered in compliance with the Grass Creek Resource Management Plan (RMP) Record of Decision (ROD) approved in 1998, the Washakie RMP ROD approved in 1988, the Cody RMP ROD approved in 1990, and the Lander RMP ROD approved in 2014.

The draft EA is available online.

Three alternatives are analyzed: under Alternative 1 (no action alternative), no parcels would be offered for sale; Alternative 2 would offer for sale 73 parcels (62 whole parcels and portions of 11 parcels) covering 89,749.960 federal mineral acres would be offered for sale with no further recommended deferrals; and under Alternative 3 (proposed action alternative), 38 whole parcels and 14 partial parcels for a total of 57,313.160  federal mineral acres would be offered for sale and, if sold, a lease issued.

Public comments are an important component of the National Environmental Policy Act process and help identify issues, concerns and mitigation opportunities not covered in the EA. Email comments to blm_wy_wrbbd_lease@blm.gov with “August 2015 Lease Parcels” in the subject line. Mail written comments to Rita Allen, BLM, Wind River/Bighorn Basin District Office, 101 S. 23rd Street, Worland, WY 82401. Comments will be accepted through Feb. 23, 2015.

For more information, please contact BLM Resource Advisor Rita Allen at (307) 347-5100 or email blm_wy_wrbbd_lease@blm.gov.

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