[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 18 (Monday, January 28, 2013)]
[Pages 5834-5836]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-01698]



Bureau of Land Management

[LLCON04000 L16100000.DP0000]

Notice of Intent To Prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact 
Statement and Resource Management Plan Amendment for the Roan Plateau, 

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Intent.


SUMMARY: In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
of 1976, as amended (FLPMA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) 
Colorado intends to prepare a Supplement to the Final Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS) associated with the development of the Roan 
Plateau Resource Management Plan (RMP) Amendment. The Roan Plateau RMP 
Amendment will amend two existing RMPs: the Glenwood Springs Field 
Office RMP and the White River Field Office RMP. The Supplemental EIS 
will analyze options for the management of the Roan Plateau Planning 
Area, including analysis of the ``Community

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Alternative'' previously presented to the BLM, consistent with the June 
22, 2012, Opinion and Order of the United States District Court for the 
District of Colorado and Secretary Salazar's commitment to develop the 
public's oil and gas resources responsibly and in the right places. 
These and other issues relevant to the proposed Roan Plateau RMP 
Amendment will be identified through scoping. By this notice the BLM is 
announcing the beginning of the scoping process to solicit public 
comments and identify issues for analysis.

DATES: This notice initiates the public scoping process for the Draft 
Supplemental EIS, building upon the scoping previously completed for 
the Roan Plateau RMP Amendment. Comments on issues and planning 
criteria identified in this NOI may be submitted in writing until 
February 27, 2013. The date(s) and location(s) of any scoping meetings 
will be announced at least 15 days in advance through local news media, 
newspapers and the BLM Web site at: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/crvfo.html. In order to be included in the scoping process, all 
comments must be received prior to the close of the 30-day scoping 
period or 30 days after the last public meeting, whichever is later. 
The BLM will provide additional opportunities for public participation 
as appropriate.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on issues and planning criteria 
related to Roan Plateau RMP Amendment by any of the following methods:
     Web Site: www.blm.gov/co/st/en/BLM_Programs/land_use_planning/rmp/roan_plateau.html.
     Email: [email protected].
     Fax: 970-876-9090.
     Mail: Bureau of Land Management, Colorado River Valley 
Field Office, Roan Plateau Comments, 2300 River Frontage Road, Silt, CO 
    Documents pertinent to this proposal may be examined at the 
Colorado River Valley Field Office at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information and/or to have 
your name added to our mailing list, contact Steve Bennett, Field 
Manager, telephone 970-876-9000; see address above; email 
[email protected]. 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 with the above individual. You will receive a reply 
during normal business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This document provides notice that the BLM 
Colorado intends to develop a new proposed Amendment to the Roan 
Plateau RMP Amendment of the Glenwood Springs and White River RMPs and 
to prepare the necessary NEPA analysis of environmental impacts 
associated with the management of the Roan Plateau Planning Area, 
including proposed oil and gas development on and around the Roan 
Plateau. This notice announces the beginning of the scoping process for 
the Draft Supplemental EIS, and seeks public input on issues and 
planning criteria identified below. The Planning Area, which is in 
west-central Colorado, includes approximately 73,602 acres of land 
(Federal surface, Federal mineral estate, or both), and is located 
primarily in Garfield County with a small portion in southern Rio 
Blanco County.
    The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997, Public 
Law 105-85 (the ``Transfer Act'') effected transfer of the Roan 
Plateau's Naval Oil Shale Reserves 1 and 3 from the Department of 
Energy to the Department of the Interior. The Transfer Act directs the 
transferred lands to be managed in accordance with FLPMA and other laws 
applicable to public lands. In addition, the Transfer Act directed the 
Secretary to enter into leases with one or more private entities ``as 
soon * * * as practicable'' for the purpose of exploration, 
development, and production of petroleum.
    The development of the Roan Plateau RMP Amendment began with 
scoping in 2000. The Draft EIS was published in November 2004. The 
Final EIS was published in August 2006. The BLM then issued two Records 
of Decision, one in June 2007 and a second, pertaining to Areas of 
Critical Environmental Concern, in March 2008. A lawsuit filed in July 
2008 that challenged the BLM's oil and gas leasing and management 
decisions for the Roan Plateau resulted in a June 22, 2012, ruling by 
the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. The 
Court set aside the Plan amendment and remanded the matter to the BLM 
for further action in accordance with the Court's decision. In 
particular, the Court found that the Final EIS was deficient insofar as 
it (i) failed sufficiently to address the ``Community Alternative'' 
that various local governments, environmental organizations, and 
individual members of the public recommended; (ii) failed sufficiently 
to address the cumulative air quality impacts of the Plan amendment 
decision in conjunction with anticipated oil and gas development on 
private lands outside the Roan Plateau Planning Area; and (iii) failed 
adequately to address the issue of potential ozone impacts from 
proposed oil and gas development. In view of the Court's ruling and 
Secretary Salazar's commitment to responsibly develop oil and gas 
resources on the public lands in the right places and in the right 
ways, the BLM determined that a new proposed Plan Amendment and a 
supplemental analysis under NEPA are warranted. The purpose of the 
public scoping process is to determine relevant issues, including those 
described by the District Court ruling, that will influence the scope 
of the environmental analysis, including alternatives, and guide the 
planning process. At present, the BLM, together with other Federal, 
state and local agencies and other stakeholders, have identified the 
following preliminary issues for analysis: oil and gas development on 
and around the Roan Plateau, directional drilling from the base of the 
Roan Plateau, air quality impacts, the effect of critical habitat 
designations for endangered and threatened plants, and Greater Sage-
Grouse habitat. Preliminary planning criteria include:
    (1) The Roan Plateau RMP Amendment will comply with NEPA, FLPMA, 
the Transfer Act, and all other applicable laws, regulations, and 
    (2) The Roan Plateau RMP Amendment will consider reasonable 
alternatives in accordance with regulations at 43 CFR part 1610 and 40 
CFR part 1500;
    (3) Decisions in the Roan Plateau RMP Amendment will only apply to 
public lands and the mineral estate managed by the BLM;
    (4) The Roan Plateau RMP Amendment and supplementation process will 
follow the BLM Land Use Planning Handbook H-1601-1 and the BLM NEPA 
Handbook H-1790-1 where appropriate;
    (5) The Roan Plateau RMP Amendment planning process will include 
broad-based public participation;
    (6) The Roan Plateau RMP Amendment process will consider the 
identification and management of lands with wilderness characteristics;
    (7) The Roan Plateau RMP Amendment process will include 
coordination with state, local, and tribal governments to ensure that 
BLM considers provisions of pertinent plans, seeks to resolve any 
inconsistencies among state, local and tribal plans, and provides ample 
opportunities for state, local and tribal governments to

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comment on the development of the Plan amendment;
    (8) The Roan Plateau RMP Amendment process will rely on available 
inventories of the lands and resources as well as data gathered during 
the planning process;
    (9) The Roan Plateau RMP Amendment process will follow requirements 
to address Greater Sage-Grouse habitat and conservation as outlined in 
the National Sage-Grouse Habitat Conservation Strategy;
    (10) The Roan Plateau RMP Amendment process will use Geographic 
Information Systems and incorporate geospatial data to the extent 
practicable and Federal Geographic Data Committee standards and other 
applicable BLM data standards will be followed;
    (11) The Roan Plateau RMP Amendment will incorporate and observe 
the principles of multiple use and sustained yield;
    (12) The Roan Plateau RMP Amendment process will involve 
consultation with Native American tribal governments;
    (13) The Roan Plateau RMP Amendment will recognize valid existing 
rights; and
    (14) The Roan Plateau RMP Amendment and SEIS will use analysis in 
the Roan Plateau Final EIS to the extent possible and practicable.
    You may submit comments on relevant issues and planning criteria in 
writing 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.
    The BLM will use the NEPA public participation requirements to 
assist the agency in satisfying the public involvement requirements 
under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (16 
U.S.C. 470(f)) pursuant to 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). The information about 
historic and cultural resources within the area potentially affected by 
the proposed action will assist the BLM in identifying and evaluating 
impacts to such resources in the context of both NEPA and Section 106 
of the NHPA.
    The BLM will consult with Indian tribes on a government-to-
government basis in accordance with Executive Order 13175 and other 
policies. Tribal concerns, including impacts on Indian trust assets and 
potential impacts to cultural resources, will be given due 
consideration. Federal, state, and local agencies, along with tribes 
and other stakeholders that may be interested in, or affected by, the 
proposed action the BLM is evaluating, are invited to participate in 
the scoping process and, if eligible, may request or be requested by 
the BLM to participate in the development of the environmental analysis 
as a cooperating agency.
    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. The minutes and list of attendees for each scoping 
meeting will be available to the public and open for 30 days after the 
meeting to any participant who wishes to clarify the views he or she 
expressed. The BLM will evaluate identified issues to be addressed in 
the plan, and will place them into one of three categories:
    1. Issues to be resolved in the plan amendment;
    2. Issues to be resolved through policy or administrative action; 
    3. Issues beyond the scope of this plan amendment.
    The BLM will provide an explanation in the Draft Supplemental EIS 
as to why an issue was placed in category two or three. The public is 
also encouraged to help identify any management questions and concerns 
that should be addressed in the plan. The BLM will work collaboratively 
with interested parties to identify the management decisions that are 
best suited to local, regional, and national needs and concerns.
    The BLM will use an interdisciplinary approach to develop the Roan 
Plateau RMP Amendment in order to consider the variety of resource 
issues and concerns identified. Specialists with expertise in the 
following disciplines will be involved in the planning process: 
minerals and geology, air resources, wildlife and fisheries, rangeland 
management, forestry, outdoor recreation, archaeology, paleontology, 
lands and realty, hydrology, soils, sociology, and economics.

    Authority:  40 CFR 1501.7, 43 CFR 1610.2 and 43 CFR 1610.5-5.

John Mehlhoff,
Acting BLM Colorado State Director.
[FR Doc. 2013-01698 Filed 1-25-13; 8:45 am]