Public Lands Watch: Sage Grouse Plan Revisions

BLM and Forest Service produce draft environmental impact statements for plan revisions

I wrote in the fall about the Trump Administration’s efforts to weaken protections for sage grouse on federal public lands.  The next step in that process is currently ongoing – draft environmental impact statements (EIS) for revisions to land management plans for BLM and Forest Service lands.  Those EISs are required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) before the relevant management plans can be revised – only after the plans are revised can the agencies then open up these sage-grouse habitat areas for additional oil and gas development.  The notices for the EISs are available here, and the public can comment on those documents at that website.  (There are links for the revisions for each of the six states covered by the revised plans: Oregon, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Nevada/northeastern California, and Wyoming).  The comment periods are open until August 2, 2018.

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Reader Comments

2 Replies to “Public Lands Watch: Sage Grouse Plan Revisions”

  1. I don’t know if you saw this notice (attached), but I think you need to. This proposed rule results from EO 13807 of August 15, 2017, Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects (attached).

    The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued a notice for a proposed rule on June 20, 2018 to amend the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementing regulations, 40 CFR Parts 1500-1508. The notice is broken down into three sections: NEPA Process, Scope of NEPA Review, and General. Each section has a series of questions: three in the first, 10 in the second, and seven in the third–20 in all. In my opinion, the CEQ regulations already cover most of these items, but not all. The deadline for comments is July 20, 2018. We have debated for decades whether opening the statute and regulations up for change might risk whatever protections they provide. This notice makes those debates obsolete.

    I find it the height of irony that no president other than Mr. Carter really embraced or cared much for NEPA. Several tried to do away with the Council on Environmental Quality. Now this president is opening the CEQ NEPA regulations up. I find it very difficult to see how this administration will be improve the 40-year old regulations in accordance with NEPA’s intent and purposes.

  2. Ode to the Sage Grouse:

    I never seen a sage grouse
    I never ate a sage grouse,
    I’d rather see one than eat one,
    I’d rather eat one than be one.

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Eric Biber

Eric Biber is a specialist in conservation biology, land-use planning and public lands law. Biber brings technical and legal scholarship to the field of environmental law…

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