The federal Bureau of Land Management is accepting public input for two weeks on a sale of public-land leases to the oil and gas industry for fossil fuel development in southeast New Mexico.
The public scoping period was schedule to begin on Nov. 25, until Dec. 9, seeking comments on the environmental impacts of the nominated parcels and potential alternatives.
The sale was expected to be held on May 21, 2020.
A total of 112 tracts of federally-owned land in New Mexico and Texas were nominated by the oil and gas industry, for lease by the BLM.
Parcels proposed in the sale included 85 in Chaves County, six in Eddy County and 10 in Lea County.
Another seven were offered in Rio Arriba County, with three more in Roosevelt County.
One parcel was nominated in Wise County, Texas.
Leases are for 10 years, and as long as there is production in paying quantities. Royalty revenue from producing leases will be paid to the host states.
“The BLM will consider all substantive comments received during the public scoping period to ensure that the potential environmental consequences are analyzed in a manner that allows the BLM to make an informed decision about the proposed competitive lease sale,” read a BLM statement.
The BLM was required to continue the promotion of exploration and mineral development on federally-managed land, under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 and the Mineral Leasing Act for Acquired Lands of 1947, read a BLM news release.
“Providing an opportunity for individuals and/or companies to lease identified federal mineral estate through a competitive lease sale process also meets the Department of the Interior’s goal of strengthening America’s energy independence,” the release read.
More information on the leasing, including spatial data, the draft parcel list and exhibits can be found on the BLM’s website.
Comments can be made publicly available, including the address, phone number and email address of those submitting comments.
Requests to withhold personal information can be made, read the release, but the BLM cannot guarantee privacy.
Those interested in more information were asked to call BLM Supervisory Land Law Examiner Jule Serrano at 505-954-2149.
Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-628-5516, firstname.lastname@example.org or @AdrianHedden on Twitter.