[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 43 (Monday, March 5, 2012)]
[Pages 13141-13142]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-5177]



Bureau of Land Management


Notice of Intent To Prepare a Master Leasing Plan, Amendments to 
the Resource Management Plans for the Moab and Monticello Field 
Offices, and an Associated Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Intent.


SUMMARY: In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 
1976 (FLPMA), as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Moab and 
Monticello Field Offices, Utah, intend to prepare a Master Leasing Plan 
(MLP), amendments to the 2008 Moab and Monticello Resource Management 
Plans (RMPs), and a single environmental impact statement (EIS) to 
consider leasing for oil and gas and potash on about 783,000 acres of 
public lands. By this notice, the BLM is announcing the beginning of 
the scoping process to solicit public comments and identify issues.

DATES: This notice initiates the public scoping process for the MLP/
plan amendments and associated EIS. Comments on issues may be submitted 
in writing prior to the end of the scoping period which is 60 days 
after the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. 
During the scoping period, it is anticipated that scoping meetings will 
be held in Moab, Monticello, and Salt Lake City, Utah. The date(s) and 
locations(s) of the scoping meetings will be announced at least 15 days 
in advance through local media, newspapers, and the BLM Web site at: 
http://www.blm.gov/21jd. Additional opportunities for public 
participation will be provided upon publication of the Draft EIS.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the Master Leasing Plan 
and plan amendments by any of the following methods:
     Email: BLM_UT_Comments_2@blm.gov
     Mail: BLM, Moab Field Office, 82 East Dogwood, Moab, Utah 
84532, Attention: Brent Northrup
     Fax: (435) 259-2106

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information and/or to have 
your name added to our mailing list, contact Brent Northrup, Project 
Manager, BLM Moab Field Office, 82 East Dogwood, Moab, UT 84532, 
telephone (435) 259-2151 or email Brent_Northrup@blm.gov. Persons who 
use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the above 
individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours 
a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question for the above 
individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The BLM will prepare a MLP in accordance 

[[Page 13142]]

the BLM's Washington Office Instruction Memorandum No. 2010-117. The 
MLP process will provide additional planning and analysis for areas 
prior to new leasing of oil, gas, and potash. The MLP will enable the 
Moab and Monticello Field Offices to (1) evaluate in-field 
considerations, such as optimal parcel configurations and potential 
development scenarios; (2) identify and address potential resource 
conflicts and environmental impacts from development; (3) develop 
mitigation strategies; and (4) consider a range of new constraints, 
including prohibiting surface occupancy or closing certain areas to 
leasing. The MLP process could result in new leasing stipulations and 
development constraints which would require amendments to the Moab and 
Monticello RMPs completed in 2008. The EIS will analyze likely mineral 
development scenarios and land use plan alternatives with varying 
mitigation levels for leasing.
    The planning area covers about 783,000 acres in east-central Utah, 
encompassing west-central Grand County south of Interstate 70 and a 
portion of northern San Juan County. The western boundary is along the 
Green River and the northeastern edge of Canyonlands National Park. To 
the south of Moab, the boundary includes the area between Canyonlands 
National Park and U.S. Highway 191. The planning area encompasses a mix 
of land uses including a variety of recreation uses, livestock grazing, 
potash production, and oil and gas development. Interest in oil, gas, 
and potash exploration and development is high in the area, as 
evidenced by the recent submission of over 170 potash prospecting 
permit applications encompassing over 350,000 acres and expressions of 
interest to lease oil and gas encompassing over 120,000 acres within 
the planning area.
    Planning issues can generally be stated as resource management 
issues and opportunities that the BLM needs to address to ensure it is 
fulfilling its multiple use resource management mission. The potential 
decisions in any proposed land use plan amendments could affect 
numerous other resources. The preliminary resource issues currently 
identified by a BLM interdisciplinary team include the following: air 
quality and climate change, cultural resources, lands and realty, 
paleontological resources, recreation, riparian resources, 
socioeconomics, soil and water, special status species, special 
designations (National Scenic and Historic Trails), vegetation, visual 
resources, wildlife and fisheries, and wilderness characteristics. 
Planning criteria are the constraints or ground rules that guide and 
direct the development of the land use plan amendments and determine 
how the planning team approaches development of alternatives and 
ultimately, selection of a Preferred Alternative. Planning criteria 
ensure that plans are tailored to the identified issues and ensure that 
unnecessary data collection and analyses are avoided. Preliminary 
planning criteria include: (1) Any plan amendments will focus on 
mineral leasing decisions only, (2) any plan amendments will recognize 
valid existing rights, (3) lands addressed in plan amendments will be 
public lands (including split estate lands) managed by the BLM, (4) the 
BLM will use a collaborative and multi-jurisdictional approach, where 
possible, to jointly determine how mineral leasing will be managed, (5) 
as described by law and policy, the BLM will strive to ensure that its 
management decisions are as consistent as possible with other planning 
jurisdictions within the planning area boundaries, (6) development 
scenarios will be prepared for oil and gas and potash based on 
historical, existing and projected levels, (7) management decisions 
will consider a range of alternatives that focus on development 
scenarios and varying mitigation levels based on the relative values of 
resources, (8) the socioeconomic impacts of the alternatives will be 
addressed, (9) the BLM will use current scientific information, 
research, technologies, and results of inventory, monitoring, and 
coordination to determine appropriate decisions for mineral leasing, 
and (10) the BLM will coordinate with Native American Tribal 
Governments to identify sites, areas, and objects important to their 
cultural and religious heritage within the planning area.

    Note: Planning issues and criteria outlined above are 
preliminary at this stage and will likely be modified as the public 
becomes more fully involved.

    Federal, state, local, and tribal agencies, along with other 
stakeholders that may be interested in or affected by the BLM's 
decision on this project are invited to participate in the scoping 
process and, if eligible, may request or be requested by the BLM to 
participate as a cooperating agency.
    You may submit comments in writing on issues and planning criteria 
to the BLM at any public scoping meeting, or you may submit them to the 
BLM using one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section above. To 
be most helpful, you should submit comments before the end of the 
scoping period. The BLM will provide the public with the results of 
scoping through our Web site and by newsletter.
    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

    Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 43 CFR 1610.2(c).

Shelley J. Smith,
Actg. Associate State Director.
[FR Doc. 2012-5177 Filed 3-2-12; 8:45 am]