Oil and Gas Decision Released for Local Forest

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Forest Service officials have released the Record of Decision and Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for oil and gas leasing within the Uinta National Forest.

The decision includes two parts: 1) which lands will be administratively available for oil and gas leasing, and 2) authorization of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to offer specific lands for lease where the BLM is currently leasing.  The Record of Decision also documents the decision to amend the 2003 Uinta National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan to modify direction for lands available for oil and gas leasing.

The decision identifies 736,070 acres of National Forest System lands that could be available for oil and gas leasing.  While the decision allows leasing on a significant portion of the Uinta National Forest, it contains requirements which protect wildlife habitat, riparian areas, and water quality, and maintain the characteristics of inventoried roadless areas.

The Record of Decision does not approve on-the-ground activities.  Approval of these activities would require separate environmental analysis and compliance with other federal laws.

The Environmental Impact Statement was developed cooperatively between the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.  Other cooperating agencies include the State of Utah, Wasatch County, and the Bureau of Reclamation.

The Forest Service has the authority and responsibility to determine which National Forest System lands are available for oil and gas leasing, and specific lands the BLM may offer for lease.  The Forest Service is also responsible for prescribing lease terms that provide reasonable protection to surface resources and values.

The BLM is responsible for conducting lease sales, and monitoring subsurface activities related to exploration and development.

This decision is subject to administrative review (appeal) pursuant to 36 CFR Part 215.  The appeal must be filed (regular mail, fax, email, hand-delivery, or express delivery) with the Appeal Deciding Officer: Appeal Deciding Officer, Harv Forsgren, Regional Forester, 324 25th Street, Ogden, Utah 84401.

Appeals, including attachments, must be filed within 45 days from the publication date of this notice in the Provo Daily Herald.

The Notice of Availability will be published in the Federal Register on March 4.  All documents regarding this decision may be obtained at www.fs.usda.gov/uwcnf


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