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1/14/2016

MTBLMRespondsToSunTimesStory,SaysMineralSalePostponedfairfieldsuntimes.com:Business

MTBLMRespondsToSunTimesStory,Says
MineralSalePostponed
ByDarrylL.Flowers|Posted:Tuesday,January12,20163:18pm
FollowsdelaysinUtah,Michigan,Arkansas
BLMHQmissesdeadlinetorespondtoSun
Timesquestions
BLMpolicyseemstosingleoutcertainstates
Youwouldthinkthatthesmallestmineralleasesale
onrecord,ofasingleparceloffederallandwouldgo
offwithoutahitch.
Butyouwouldbewrong.

BureauofLandManagement
(BLM)

InLastweeksissueoftheSunTimes,wereprinteda
storyfromtheRockyMountainOilJournalaboutthe
meagerofferingsatthescheduledJanuary26saletotakeplaceattheBLM(BureauofLand
Management)officeinBillings.

Afterpostingthearticleonourwebsite,fairfieldsuntimes.com,wereceivedanemailfromAlyse
Backus,PublicAffairsSpecialistwiththeBLMofficeinBillings.
Inheremail,Ms.BackustoldtheSunTimesthatthesalehadbeenpostponed,andsheattacheda
DearReaderletterthathadbeensenttointerestedparties.
Accordingtotheattachedletter,theBLMispostponingtheJanuary26,2016CompetitiveOiland
GasLeaseSale.Thedecisiontopostponethesaleisbecausethereisnotenoughtimetocoordinate
anappropriatevenue.
InNovembertheSunTimeswasprovidedwithastorythatappearedonthe17thonTheSaltLake
Tribuneswebsite(seearticleatbit.ly/20Zz5DQ).
AccordingtotheSaltLakenewspaper,thesaleofoilandgasleasesinUtahwascanceledatthe
11thhour.ThereasongivenbytheUtahBLMoffice,accordingtotheTribunearticle,wasthatthe
roomwheretheauctionwastobeheldwasnotlargeenoughtoseatalltheactivistswhoexpresseda
desiretoobservebiddersraisetheirpaddles.
Thearticlegoesontosay,ThiseffortmirrorslongshotlegislationcosponsoredbySen.Bernie
Sanders,theVermontindependentrunningfortheDemocraticpresidentialnominationaimedat
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MTBLMRespondsToSunTimesStory,SaysMineralSalePostponedfairfieldsuntimes.com:Business

blockingfutureoilandgasleasingonfederallandandcancelingidleleases.Activistslike
WildEarthsTimReamarguethatthefederalgovernmentmustlimitindustrysaccesstopublicly
owneddepositsofoil,gasandcoalbecauseburningtheseresourcesburdenstheatmospherewith
greenhousegases.
MadeawareoftheSaltLakeTribunestory,theSunTimesbeganmonitoringotherBLMmineral
salesacrossthecountry.OnDecember7th,2015itwasreportedthatasaleslatedforDecember10
consistingofnineparcelsinArkansasandMichiganhadalsobeencanceled.
Inthatcase,environmentalgroupshadthreatenedthesaleinanefforttokeepfossilfuelsinthe
ground.ThosegroupshailedtheBLMspostponementoftheDecemberleasesaleasavictory,
readareportonthepostponedsalefromMarkBurghardtwiththelawfirmofHollandandHart.
Burghardtadded,Ifcorrect,thiswouldbethesecondtimeinlessthanamonththatenvironmental
groupsforcedtheBLMtopostponeanoilandgasleasesale.
Meanwhile,aBLMmineralleasesaleplannedforAugust13,2015inColoradohasbeenpostponed
untilAugust11,2016.ThesalethatwassetforthatdateAugust11,2016hasbeenpostponed
until2017.
AccordingtoSteveHall,withtheColoradoBLM,theAugust2015salewaspostponedduetoalack
ofinterest.Headdedthatthemostrecentsale,onNovember12,2015,didtakeplace.Wehad
protesterstryingtoblockentrancetothesale,saidHall,whowentontosaythatthesalecontinued
despitetheattemptstoblockaccess.
TheSunTimes,inasetoffollowupquestionsposedtotheBLMinBillingsaskedwhyasaleof
onlyasingleparceloffederalhadtobepostponedforamoresuitablelocation.AlNash,Chiefof
CommunicationsfortheBLMMontana/Dakotasofficesaidinaseriesofemailresponsesthatinthe
recentpast,theofficehadconductedoilandgassalesinaroomatthestateofficeinBillings,aroom
thatcanhold250people.Nashadded,Recentauctionsinotherstateshavedemonstratedan
increasedinterestonthepartofthepublicinobservingleasesales.Theyhighlightedthefactthat
somestatesutilizedfacilitiesinfederalbuildingswhileothersdidnot.Italsobecameclearthat
roomcapacityfortheseauctionsvariedwidely.
OurWashingtonOfficehasdeterminedweneedgreaterconsistencyinourapproachtohostingoil
andgasleasesales.Theyarecurrentlyworkingtoprovideguidancetothefieldsostateofficescan
arrangeforcomparablefacilitiesinwhichtohostfutureleasesales.
Whenaskediftherehadbeenanyprotestsoractionstakenbyanyenvironmentalgroupstoblockor
disruptthepostponedsale,NashtoldtheSunTimeshewasunawareofanysuchthreats.Healsotold
theSunTimesthattheBLMofficeinWashington,DChadadvisedtheMontana/Dakotasofficethat
itwaspreparingguidanceforthefieldonadefinitionofasuitablevenueforfutureoilandgaslease
salesheldbyBLMStateoffices.BylateDecember,theofficehadnotreceivedthatguidance,so
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MTBLMRespondsToSunTimesStory,SaysMineralSalePostponedfairfieldsuntimes.com:Business

BLMMontana/DakotasStateDirectorJamieConnellrecommendedthatthesalebepostponed.
AccordingtoNash,theofficehasstillnotreceivedanyguidancefromWashingtononwhatthey
willconsidersuitablerequirementsforfuturevenuesforoilandgasleasesales.
Therefore,atthistimewearenotinapositiontomoveforwardwithasearchforanewvenuetohost
futuresales.
NashreferredanyfurtherquestionstoJeffKrause,DivisionChiefforPublicAffairsattheBLM
headquartersinWashington,DC.
TheSunTimessentasetofquestionsviaemailtoJeffKrauseonThursday.OnFriday,BevWinston
withtheBLMPublicAffairsofficerespondedonbehalfofJeffKrause,acknowledgingreceiptofour
questionsandconfirmingourdeadlinefortheirresponse,whichwasnoononMonday.
By10:00a.m.Tuesday,wehadnotreceivedareplytoourquestions.
AccordingtothewebsitefortheNewMexicoBLMoffice,thesaleplannedforJanuary20,2016had
beenpostponed.But,accordingtoDonnaHummel,ChiefofCommunicationsfortheoffice,the
delaywasnotconnectedtoanyprotestorthreatofprotest.HummeltoldtheSunTimesthatthesale
generatedlittleinterest,withonlyasingleparcelupforleaseinoneoftheirregionsinanother
regionleasingisonholdastheareaundergoesaresourcemanagementsupplementalreview.
Depressedcrudepricesmaynarrowtheopportunitiesforleasingprotesterstograbtheeagerattention
ofthemediaaslowoilpricesresultinlessinterestonthepartofoilandgasexplorationcompanies.
InNevada,asaleplannedforSeptember,2015wasdelayeduntil2016whentherewereno
expressionsofinterestonthepartoftheindustry.
InAlaska,theinformationrelatedtoleasingontheBLMwebsitedidnotindicatetherehadbeenany
delays.
InCalifornia,BLMrecordsavailableonlineindicatethattherehasbeennoexpressionsofinterest
inleasingBLMmineralssince2014,andthoserequestsarestillreportedaspending.
AdraftofaplannedstoryforthisweekseditionofRockyMountMountainOilJournalwas
providedinadvancetotheSunTimes.ItwastheJournalstorythatappearedintheSunTimeslast
weekthatbroughtthismattertolight.Commentingontheleasesaledelay,theJournalsaid,Since
thislatestsaleconsistedofonlyonetract,andtherewerenoknownprotestsplanned,surelythis
presentvenuewouldhavesufficedtoholdthesale.AndtohavetowaituntilWashingtongivesthe
finalapprovalastowhereasalecanbeheld,thissureseemslikemicromanagementisbeingused
topreventtheorderlyandlegalexplorationofmineralsonfederallands.
TheJournalfurthercommented,Toquoteasnippetofalettersenttothis[Obama]Administration
byaconsortiumofenvironmentalistgroupsandindividualswhofallundertheMonikerKeepItIn
TheGround:DearPresidentObama,
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MTBLMRespondsToSunTimesStory,SaysMineralSalePostponedfairfieldsuntimes.com:Business

FederalleasingofpubliclyownedfossilfuelscontributessignificantlytoU.S.andglobalgreenhouse
gasemissions.Overthepastdecade,theburningoffossilfuelsfromfederalleasinghasresultedin
nearlyaquarterofallU.S.energyrelatedemissionsandnearly4percentofglobalemissions.
Despitethispollutionandtheloomingclimatethreat,youradministrationcontinuestoleasepublicly
ownedfossilfuels,endangeringthehealthandwelfareofcommunitiesandtheplanet.
Underexistingfederallaws,includingtheMineralLeasingAct,OuterContinentalShelfLandsAct,
FederalLandPolicyandManagementAct,andSurfaceMiningControlandReclamationAct,you
haveclearauthoritytostopnewleases.Withthestrokeofapen,youcouldtaketheboldaction
neededtostopnewfederalleasingoffossilfuels,andtokeepthoseremainingfossilfuelsour
publiclyownedfossilfuelssafelyintheground.
AsweseeinganincreaseofcancellationsforBLMsalesinotherstatesintheRockiesandelsewhere
onshoreU.S.,itseemsthatthisadministrationdoesntneedapentostopoilandgasleasingon
federallands,justtellindustrythattherearenotenoughchairstoholdasale.
YoucanvisittheRockyMountainOilJournalonlineatwww.rmoj.com.

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