BLM public comment - OSTS

HawkWatch International recently submitted comments for the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Programmatic EIS for Oil Shale and Tar Sands Development within Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. In order to support any type of development of these resources, we felt it imperative that the BLM and developers prove that technologies to extract resources in these areas are completely vetted and proven trustworthy, and also that ironclad environmental safeguards were in place in order to not only protect raptors and their habitat but other wildlife and associated habitats. On November 9, the BLM published their final PEIS in which they supported an alternative development scenario that held up to 700,000 acres in Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado for research and development of oil shale, and about 130,000 acres in Utah for activities related to tar sands. HawkWatch supported an alternative that held much fewer lands available for strictly research and development with no commercial resource extraction until the technologies were further developed. In their response to our comments regarding increasing the risk associated with fire on raptors, based on what we've discovered about the interaction of fire on raptor nesting success through the Legacy project, the BLM included more language on the long-term effects of fire in both "effects" chapters of the PEIS. They also increased the threat level for fire on raptors from "small" to "moderate". Our other comments regarding the risk to raptors from vegetation removal in foraging habitat were dismissed. We additionally advocated for more language regarding conservation actions for protected species, as well as pointing out that there are large amounts of data for nesting raptors held in BLM offices in the region. These comments were acknowledged, but due to the fact that this document is a programmatic EIS, the BLM stated that such considerations will be given on a project by project basis.

To view HWI's public comment, click here.
To view the BLM press release and learn more, click here

 

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