NEPA, FLPMA, and Impact Reduction: An Empirical Assessment of BLM Resource Management Planning in the Mountain West
25 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2015 Last revised: 3 Dec 2016
Date Written: 2015
This paper reviews Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) completed in conjunction with Resource Management Plan (RMP) revisions completed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Colorado, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming between 2004 and 2014. Based on our review of sixteen EISs for RMP revisions we found that RMP revisions increased application of more protective surface use stipulations by statistically significant amounts without causing a statistically significant change in either the number of jobs created or the pace of oil and gas development. In fact, both the number of jobs created and wells drilled increased slightly despite strengthened environmental protections. We also found that Draft RMP EISs that are completed on an accelerated timeline come with a heightened risk that supplementation will be needed. The delays associated with preparing a Supplemental EIS far outweigh the timesaving associated with fast-tracking DEIS preparation and provide a strong caution against rushing the NEPA process.
Keywords: NEPA, FLPMA, Resource Management Plan, EIS
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