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Bureau of Land Management releases final environmental analysis and proposed land use plan amendment for the Converse County Oil and Gas Project

Project could generate up to 8,000 jobs and approximately $18 to $28 billion in state/federal revenues
Project could generate up to 8,000 jobs and approximately $18 to $28 billion in state/federal revenues(KFYR)
Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 12:04 AM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Release) - In support of the Trump Administration’s goals to promote responsible American energy independence and support local jobs and economies, the Bureau of Land Management Casper Field Office today published a final environmental impact statement and proposed resource management plan amendment for the Converse County Oil and Gas Project. The publication of a notice in today’s Federal Register begins a 30-day protest period that will end August 23, 2020.

“Under the leadership of the Trump Administration and Secretary Bernhardt, the BLM has led the way in responsibly expanding our Nation’s energy potential,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Casey Hammond. “This proposed amendment would allow for sustainable development of the area’s oil and gas resources, while balancing the conservation of wildlife in the area and providing important economic benefits to the State of Wyoming.”

The Converse County EIS evaluates a proposal to develop oil and gas resources in Converse County, Wyoming, submitted by Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Devon Energy, EOG Resources, Inc. and Northwoods Energy. The operator group proposes to drill approximately 5,000 oil and natural gas wells in Converse County in an area encompassing approximately 1.5 million acres over a 10-year period. The BLM’s proposed resource management plan amendment would modify the Casper RMP to allow for timing limitation relief in the project area in a manner that balances regulatory certainty for year-round drilling with the conservation of non-eagle raptor species.

“In a time when our state faces significant economic challenges, the decision to move forward confirms my belief that the oil and gas industry will remain a committed, responsible and vital part of Wyoming’s economy, as well as a valued partner to her people,” said Governor Mark Gordon. “This project builds a consistent framework for energy development in Converse County. The State of Wyoming values the BLM’s coordination that took into account industry needs, wildlife conservation and the local economy. It took a long time, but in the end I am eager to see this important project come to fruition.”

“Oil and gas development is a cornerstone of Wyoming’s economy. The Converse County Oil and Gas Project is estimated to bring thousands of jobs and substantial revenue to our state,” said Senator John Barrasso (WY-R). “The final environmental impact statement for this project has been a long time coming. It’s the result of years of work and collaboration between federal, state and local stakeholders. I look forward to closely reviewing it and being one step closer to making this Wyoming energy and jobs project a reality.”  

“Today’s announcement is great news for our state. I’m pleased to see that the Converse County Oil and Gas Project’s final environmental impact statement and proposed resource management plan have been released. This 5,000-well project, which allows for year-round drilling, will serve as a critical source of jobs and economic growth for Wyoming as we continue to recover from COVID-19. Our state’s fossil fuels are a national treasure and I am glad this important project is moving forward,” said Congresswoman Liz Cheney (WY-R).

“The Converse County EIS is a long awaited path forward for US energy independence and responsible, balanced development of the Wyoming and Converse County’s resources,” said Converse County Commissioner Jim Willox. “The jobs, tax revenues and energy this area has the potential to produce will benefit generations to come.”

If approved, the proposed project could generate up to 8,000 jobs and approximately $18 to $28 billion in federal revenues, which would be shared with the State of Wyoming.

The BLM has coordinated with Native American tribes, Federal agencies, state and local governments, the proponents and other interested parties throughout the EIS process to solicit input on issues and resource information for the project, and our proposed action reflects the advice and recommendations they provided.

Anyone who participated in the planning process for this proposed RMP amendment and who is, or may be, adversely affected by the decisions may protest the amendment’s approval. All protests must be received in writing or electronically through the project’s ePlanning website at https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/66551/510 by August 23, 2020. Instructions for filing a protest with the BLM are located online at https://www.blm.gov/programs/planning-and-nepa/public-participation/filing-a-plan-protest or at 43 CFR 1610.5-2.

To review the final EIS, please visit the project’s ePlanning site at https://go.usa.gov/xdYhv.

For more information, contact Mike Robinson, project manager, at 307-261-7520.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In fiscal year 2018, the diverse activities authorized on BLM-managed lands generated $105 billion in economic output across the country. This economic activity supported 471,000 jobs and contributed substantial revenue to the U.S. Treasury and state governments, mostly through royalties on minerals.

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