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Top Western leaders and key Congressional members will be meeting in Denver on Friday to discuss energy policy and the economic impacts of the oil and natural gas industry on the local and federal level, Western Wire has learned. The Western Energy Forum, hosted by the Western Caucus Foundation, will …

Weaponizing Of NEPA Turns Analysis Into Heckler’s Veto

by Michael Sandoval with Elena Connolly June 22, 2018

BLM

A recent decision by a district court judge in New Mexico rejecting a Bureau of Land Management finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for oil and gas leases has raised concerns from leading environmental law experts in the West. Senior U.S. District Court Judge M. Christina Armijo’s ruling cancelled leases on approximately 20,000 acres in the Four Corners area of New Mexico, remanding the decision to the BLM “for further analysis and action.”

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Manufacturers from across the country today sent a joint letter urging for changes in how the Environmental Protection Agency uses cost-benefit analysis to implement regulations. The letter, penned by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and cosigned by more than 100 trade groups, was addressed to Office of Information and …

The House Natural Resources Committee advanced one of four bills up for consideration today that would streamline the permitting process during a full committee markup session on Capitol Hill. The Committee voted along party lines with a tally of 22-18 in favor of the “Common Sense Permitting Act,” which was …

BLM

A new Bureau of Land Management directive to agency field staff calling for streamlining environmental reviews for Applications for Permits to Drill (APDs) on non-federal surface land for federal subsurface mineral estate was issued this week. Interior Department Royalty Policy Committee advisers—a group of 20 representatives from government, oil and gas industry, academia, and renewables, among others—made their recommendation last week in Albuquerque, N.M.

COGCC

A study commissioned by the Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners (CAMRO) finds that implementing policies or ballot measures that would effectively ban oil and gas development in in one of Colorado’s most productive oil fields would strand a “staggering” $180 billion worth of resources and cost mineral rights owners as much as $26 billion. “The biggest takeaway is the staggering dollar amount,” Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners (CAMRO) president, Neil Ray told Western Wire.

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A New Mexico trade association called a proposal by U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich to ban leasing and development on multi-use public lands around the Chaco Culture National Historical Park “unnecessary and a waste” of the state’s abundant natural resources. Jim Winchester, Executive Director of the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico (IPA-NM), told Western Wire via email that balancing protections for historical sites with economic development was not an either/or proposition, and a “waste” of the state’s abundant natural resources.