Our friends at the Institute for Energy Research have a running list of the ways the Biden Administration has suppressed American oil and natural gas. We’d like to focus on just one of the 176 we’re dealing with, a Resource Management Plan (RMP) amendment for public lands on the West Slope of Colorado. The RMP would close 1.566 million acres to oil and natural gas leasing. The justification? These lands have “no-known, low, or medium potential” for oil and natural gas, or so BLM would have you believe.
BLM is basing its resource assessment on a 2002 U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS) study, well before technological advances and the shale revolution that has unlocked huge resources from shales like the Mancos found in western Colorado. BLM blithely dismisses the need to update its assessment because, and we’re not kidding, “geology remains constant.”
Yes indeed, oil and natural gas was laid down by the dinosaurs millions of years ago and geology does remain essentially constant as far as today’s humans are concerned. What doesn’t remain constant is technological innovation, which has increased our ability to produce oil and natural gas at a rate considered impossible in 2002. BLM intentionally ignored a 2016 USGS report showing technically recoverable resources have grown nearly three-fold since the 2002 study.
It’s a basic violation of NEPA for a federal agency to ignore updated information, especially one from a sister agency. While the rock beneath the ground is solid, BLM’s assessment of it is very shaky.
More information is available in our joint public comment letter with the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association (WSCOGA) and the Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA).