American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016 - 14

IndustryDigest
Environmental Groups
Petition To Relist LPC
WASHINGTON-Three
environmental groups have petitioned
the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to
relist the lesser prairie chicken under
the Endangered Species Act, the
Independent Petroleum Association of
America reports.
The petition filed Sept. 8 by
WildEarth Guardians, Defenders of
Wildlife and the Center for Biological
Diversity (CBD) asks USFWS to
reinstate federal protections for the
entire species, but seeks emergency
protections for the shinnery oak
subspecies in Colorado and western
Kansas, and the sand sagebrush
subspecies along the Texas-New
Mexico border, according to a CBD
announcement.
The groups say their petition is based
"on scientific studies that show an
increasing likelihood of the bird's
extinction across several states." They
cite a book, Ecology and Conservation
of Lesser Prairie Chickens, published
earlier this year that CBD says
"includes a study that found a 38
percent chance of the Colorado-Kansas
population dropping below 50 birds
within 30 years," as well as an "83.5
percent probability of the total
worldwide population of the birds
dropping below critical thresholds."
CBD contends climate change,
energy development, cropland
conversion, grassland fragmentation by
roads and power lines, and intensive
livestock grazing threaten the LPC.
IPAA notes that USFWS finalized its
delisting decision for the LPC on July

20. The service listed the bird as
threatened in March 2014, but that was
overturned in September 2015 by
Western Texas District Judge Robert
Junell in Midland (AOGR, October
2015, pg. 20). Junell reaffirmed that
ruling in February 2016, and USFWS
dropped its appeal in May (AOGR,
April 2016, pg. 18, and June 2016, pg.
16). r

BLM Issues Instructions
For Sage Grouse Plans
WASHINGTON-On Sept. 1, the
U.S. Bureau of Land Management
issued seven instruction memorandums
(IMs) to clarify how its sage grouse
land-use plans are to be implemented.
As a precursor to a decision
announced in September 2015 by the
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service not to list
the greater sage grouse as a threatened
or endangered species, BLM in May
announced 98 land-use plans for 10
Western states that focused sage grouse
protection on minimizing new or
additional surface disturbance,
improving habitat conditions, and
reducing the threat of rangeland fire
(AOGR, July 2015, pg. 167). The plans
set out a tiered approach of increasing
restrictions in areas identified as
General Habitat Management Areas
(GHMAs), Priority Habitat
Management Areas (PHMAs), and
Sagebrush Focal Areas.
In addition to oil and gas leasing and
development, BLM says the IMs cover
grazing permit review priorities, grazing
management thresholds and responses,
adaptive management triggers,

Edsel Noland (left), accepts
a lifetime achievement
award from Dwight Keen
during the Eastern Kansas
Oil & Gas Association's
annual convention, held
Sept. 13-15 at the Prairie
Band Casino & Resort in
Mayetta, Ks. EKOGA presented the award to Noland
in recognition of his more
than 55 years of service
to the association and the
industry.

14 THE AMERICAN OIL & GAS REPORTER

disturbance tracking, effectiveness
monitoring, and a habitat assessment
framework. The full texts of the IMs are
available at www.blm.gov/sagegrouse in
the "documents and resources" section.
Although the oil and gas leasing IM
does not prohibit leasing within priority
areas before all lower-category areas are
leased, BLM says it does "ensure
consideration of the lands outside of
GHMAs and PHMAs for leasing and
development before considering lands
within GHMAs, and thereafter
consideration of lands within GHMAs .
. . before lands within PHMAs."
Priorities for authorized officials to
consider when evaluating expressions of
interest to lease oil and gas parcels,
according to the IM, include:
* Parcels immediately adjacent or
proximate to existing oil and gas leases;
* Parcels within existing federal oil
and gas units;
* Parcels in areas with higher
potential for development;
* Parcels in areas of lower-value
sage grouse habitat;
* Parcels within areas having
completed environmental impact
statements or master leasing plans that
allow for adequate site-specific
mitigation; and
* Parcels within areas where laws
or regulations indicate that offering the
lands is in the government's interest,
such as to prevent drainage of federal
minerals. r

Administration's Move
To Halt Work On DAPL
Drawing Fierce Fire
BISMARCK, N.D.-Minutes after a
federal judge denied an injunction to
block construction on the Dakota
Access Pipeline (DAPL), the president
who appointed him stepped in to freeze
construction.
The Domestic Energy Producers
Alliance points out that the $3.8 billion,
1,200-mile project, which has drawn
protests from anti-development groups
and some Native American
representatives, has received all relevant
regulatory permits.
On Sept. 9, U.S. District Court Judge
James Boasberg denied an injunction
filed by North Dakota's Standing Rock
Sioux Tribe to forbid construction on a
stretch of the project that was to pass


http://www.blm.gov/sagegrouse

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016

Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016 - Cover1
American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016 - Cover2
American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016 - Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016 - 4
American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016 - 5
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American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016 - Cover3
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