On April 29, 2019, the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a Draft Supplement Environmental Impact Statement (Draft SEIS) analyzing potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing for future oil & gas development within the 400,000 acre Bakersfield Field Office Planning Area. That planning area includes Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Venture counties.
The Need for a Supplemental EIS
The Draft SEIS is the latest development in BLM’s ongoing management of oil and gas resources and supplements BLM’s 2012 Final EIS, associated with BLM’s 2014 Resources Management Plan (RMP). The 2014 RMP was challenged by the Center for Biological Diversity and Los Padres ForestWatch (Civ. No. 2:15-cv-04378-MWF/JEM). In 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued a summary judgment ruling that BLM had failed to take the required “hard look” at hydraulic fracturing. In 2017, the parties reached a settlement agreement that kept in place the 2014 RMP and required BLM to prepare a SEIS to analyze the environmental consequences of hydraulic fracturing.
BLM issued the requisite Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare that Draft SEIS in August 2018. That same NOI also contemplated a possible amendment to the 2014 RMP. However, in the Draft SEIS determined that the environmental impacts of integrating hydraulic fracturing into future BLM leasing and development decision did not conflict with the earlier RMP and amendment was unnecessary.
Continue Reading Be Careful of What You Wish For – Environmental Groups Complain about the Environmental Study of Hydraulic Fracturing That They Sued BLM to do