BLM Announces an Environmental Assessment to Address Fracking in California

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Last week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to address hydraulic fracturing on federal lands in central California.  BLM indicated that the EIS would consider the potential impacts of fracking and other well stimulation techniques associated with oil and gas leases and may result in an amendment to the resource management plan (RMP) for the Hollister Field Office.

BLM indicated that it may use this same process to amend RMPs for other field offices in California with oil and gas development, including Bakersfield, Palm Springs-South Coast, Mother Lode and Ukiah.  BLM also indicated that it is concurrently initiating a separate assessment of industry well stimulation and completion in California.  The EIS and assessment are likely the result of ongoing litigation with the Center for Biological Diversity, challenging BLM’s recent grant of oil and gas leases under NEPA (see April 22, 2013, blog post). 

BLM will take comments on the EIS scoping through October 4.