July 22, 2013
Historically, the U.S. Interior Department, especially its Bureau of Land Management Division, which oversees energy development on some 700 million acres of land, has tended to look at public land development projects like mining, and oil and gas production in isolation, with little consideration for broad ecosystem effects stretching across large landscapes.
That orientation began to shift as the Obama administration ramped up efforts to bring large-scale solar energy development to federal lands in the states in the southwest. Today, it appears that look-before-you-leap, landscape-scale approach is now going to be expanded according to a 21 June 2013 report in Climate Progress.
The Bureau of Land Management is issuing draft guidelines for how its employees should develop and implement regional strategies to mitigate the impacts of development projects; not just by finding ways to compensate on its own lands, but also on other federal, state, tribal and even private lands. Rather than devising ways for making up for the impacts of a single oil and gas project during the permitting stage, for example, this new approach will have a blueprint in place for an entire region. And mitigation won’t be limited just to that one oil and gas project site.
Interior will be able to compensate for resource damage in one development location by preserving resources elsewhere when appropriate, and for at least as long as the damage will be occurring on the development site.
A recent poll showed that 65 percent of respondents in western states favor protecting public lands for future generations, while just 29 percent say that the government should focus on more opportunities for oil and gas drilling. Seventy-eight percent say that some of the money collected from allowing oil and gas companies to drill on public lands should be used to repair the damage that drilling causes.
What this means to you
In many western states much of the land is owned by the federal government, primarily the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management. Controversy has always prevailed over federal land usage. A plan that allows mineral production in some areas offset by land protection elsewhere could be a win/win solution.
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Answers to RICE NESHAP Questions
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Compliance with these regulations is required by May 3, 2013 for compression ignition (CI) and by October 13, 2013 for spark ignition (SI) reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE). The regulations strengthen National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) as defined in 40 CFR, part 63, supart ZZZZ.
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