American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018 - 94

and equipment are just bigger and more
expensive; if the time from discovery to
production is not reduced; and if advances
are not made to better assure safety and

environmental performance. We know
we must improve efficiencies for onshore
operations, while increasing the recovery
of each well drilled, and investments are

needed to assure operations are conducted
in the safest and most environmentally
responsible manner possible. It can be
done," RPSEA says.
r

BLM Revises Sagebrush Habitat IMs
WASHINGTON-The Bureau of Land
Management has revised instruction memoranda controlling sagebrush management
in the West, saying the new policies will
allow multiple use and local economic
development while continuing to maintain
healthy habitats.
The revised IMs give BLM managers
and staff guidance for putting sage grouse
habitat management plans into effect at
the field level, the agency describes. BLM
says it generally issues IMs for three
years, which allows it to review their effectiveness and revise them if necessary.
The agency says the IMs will guide BLM
policy through September 2021.
"The updated polices are in response
to concerns raised by states, local partners
and our own field staff," says Brian Steed,
BLM's deputy director for programs and
policy. "They were developed from the
ground up with the goal of improving

sagebrush habitat while permitting measured economic and recreational activity."
According to BLM, the revised IMs
provide guidance for on-the-ground management actions in oil and gas leasing
and development, leasing and permitting
for livestock grazing, and evaluating
sagebrush habitat health. Three of the
IMs revise memos issued in 2016; two
others supersede guidance issued that
year. The sixth IM is new, and directs
field staff in using a habitat objective
table in sage grouse management decisions to ensure the best available science
is used to support management decisions,
BLM relates.
Media sources say the new oil and
gas leasing IM replaces one that encouraged BLM field offices to work
with state and federal agencies, as well
as stakeholders, to encourage and prioritize leasing and development outside

of sage grouse habitats. The older IM
established a sequential prioritization
process that required leasing outside of
grouse habitat to "minimize further fragmentation and impacts to [grouse] habitat
or populations."
Under the revised IM, parcels may be
leased within the bird's habitat management areas without first leasing parcels
in nonhabitat areas. The IM also allows
for work on oil and gas leases issued
before federal plans were implemented,
saying they can proceed "with reasonable
and appropriate site-specific mitigation
as conditions of approval."
Oil And Gas Leasing
BLM policy for oil and gas actions in
areas with designated sage grouse habitat
makes it clear that, while plans prioritize
leasing and development outside of habitat
management areas, they still allow leasing

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94 THE AMERICAN OIL & GAS REPORTER

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American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018

Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018 - 1
American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018 - 1
American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018 - 2
American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018 - Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018 - 4
American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018 - 5
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