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Oil Shale and Tar Sands Leasing Programmatic EIS
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Oil Shale and Tar Sands Leasing Programmatic EIS
 Why the PEIS Is Needed
 What Is In the PEIS
 How the PEIS Was Prepared
 Who Prepared the PEIS
 PEIS Schedule
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Frequently Asked Questions

Glossary/acronym list

What Is in the Oil Shale and Tar Sands Programmatic EIS

The Oil Shale and Tar Sands Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) evaluates potential impacts associated with the reallocation of lands available for application for leasing under the current commercial leasing program for oil shale and tar sands resources on public lands in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.


The Programmatic EIS evaluates the amendment of existing applicable Resource Management Plans to allocate lands available for application for leasing of oil shale and tar sands resources in these three states (see below for more information on Resource Management Plans). The following plans could be amended as a result of this PEIS:

Wyoming Utah Colorado
  • Green River (Rock Springs Field Office)
  • Kemmerer
  • Rawlins
  • Monticello
  • Price
  • Richfield
  • Vernal
  • Glenwood Springs (Colorado River Valley Field Office)
  • Grand Junction
  • White River

What is the scope of the analysis in the Final PEIS?

The scope of the PEIS includes a qualitative assessment of the potential positive and negative environmental, social, and economic impacts of allocating lands available for future leasing of oil shale and tar sands resources on BLM-administered lands located in northwestern Colorado, eastern Utah, and southwestern Wyoming, and a discussion of relevant mitigation measures that might be applied in subsequent decision-making to address these potential impacts. The Final PEIS proposes land use plan amendments to designate lands available for oil shale and tar sands leasing and future development activities.

The study area for oil shale resources includes the most geologically prospective areas of the Green River Formation, which is located in the Green River, Piceance, Uinta and Washakie Basins of Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. This encompasses about 2.3 million acres.

For tar sands resources, the study area includes those locations designated as Special Tar Sands Areas (STSAs) by Congress in the Combined Hydrocarbon Leasing Act of 1981. The total BLM-administered acreage in these 11 areas is approximately 654,000 acres.

Maps of the oil shale and tar sand resources included in the study area are available.

What impacts and issues are addressed in the Oil Shale and Tar Sands PEIS?

The BLM solicited comments and suggestions for consideration in the preparation of the PEIS during the April-May, 2011 scoping period. A number of issues and management concerns were identified through the PEIS scoping process and are addressed in the PEIS (Appendix J).

The major issues that are addressed in the PEIS include:

  • Surface and groundwater protection;
  • Air quality protection;
  • Wildlife and wildlife habitat quality and fragmentation;
  • Protection of wilderness, riparian, and scenic values;
  • Cultural resource protection;
  • Threatened and endangered species and habitat protection;
  • Multiple mineral development; and
  • Socioeconomic impacts on local economies.

What are land use plans?

A land use plan is a set of decisions that establish management direction for land within a BLM administrative area, as prescribed under the planning provisions of FLPMA; it is an assimilation of land-use-plan-level decisions developed through the planning process outlined in 43 CFR 1600, regardless of the scale at which the decisions were developed. The term includes both resource management plans (RMPs) and management framework plans (MFPs). Land use plan decisions establish desired outcomes and actions needed to achieve them. Decisions are made using the planning process defined in 43 CFR 1600.

The land use planning process is the key tool used by the BLM to protect resources and designate the BLM uses on BLM-administered lands. These plans help ensure that the public lands are managed in accordance with applicable laws and regulations under the principles of multiple use and sustained yield; recognizing the Nation's need for domestic sources of minerals, food, timber, and fiber while protecting the quality of scientific, scenic, historical, ecological, environmental, air and atmospheric, water, and archaeological values.