Success Story: BLM Defers Leasing Oil and Gas Parcel Near Theodore Roosevelt NP

In a terse one-paragraph statement, on December 14, 2017 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced its decision to defer (i.e., postpone until a future date) leasing an oil and gas parcel on the boundary of the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park (THRO) in North Dakota. BLM had proposed to lease the parcel during an upcoming March 2018 sale. The entirety of the BLM statement is as follows:

NORTH DAKOTA MARCH 2018 LEASE SALE EA – The BLM has decided to defer the one nominated lease parcel for the North Dakota March 2018 Lease Sale, and to withdraw from analysis the associated EA (Environmental Assessment). Due to time needed to thoroughly consider the comments on the EA (before the required posting dates for the lease sale process), and time needed for any potential additional analysis required to respond to comments, this parcel is being deferred.

While future leasing of the parcel remains a possibility, the deferral decision is good news for park advocates opposing the sale.  In late October 2017, Mark Motsko, a Coalition member and former park ranger at THRO, submitted to National Parks Traveler an op-ed titled “Recalling Theodore Roosevelt’s Love Of The Land While Worrying About Oil And Gas Development.” The op-ed is available at:  https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2017/10/op-ed-recalling-theodore-roosevelts-love-land-while-worrying-about-oil-and-gas-development

In early November, the Coalition along with the National Parks Conservation Association submitted joint comments to BLM raising concerns about the proposed sale. The comments are available at: https://protectnps.org/coalition-comments-on-proposed-oil-and-gas-leasing-near-theodore-roosevelt-np/