The next step for the BLM is to work out the details and develop an adaptive management plan. The agency wants the public’s input during this process.
“We are asking all interested members of the public interested in the development of the adaptive management plan, to join us to hear about the next steps as outlined in the Converse County approved record of decision,” Josh Cocke, acting field manager at the BLM’s Casper Field Office, said in a written statement.
Timing limits on oil and gas activity exist to protect birds nesting near oil and gas sites in the area.
Right now, operators cannot develop within a half-mile buffer around raptor nests between Feb. 1 and July 31. A quarter of a mile buffer must also be maintained around non-eagle raptors, including red-tailed hawks, Swainson’s hawks, American kestrels, ospreys, great horned owls, long-eared owls, northern saw-whet owls, common barn owls and western screech owls.
But the amendment approved by the BLM in December for this project gives operators the option to drill within this restricted time frame, if they meet some requirements. Being able to drill during the restricted timespan builds in more predictability and certainty for operators, project proponents said. However, environmental advocates fear year-round activity could be harmful to wildlife.