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BLM Finalizes Improved Oil Shale and Tar Sands Plan

2012-11-16 / Tom Flynn

Last week, the Bureau of Land Management released the final version of their oil shale and tar sands development plan, making substantial improvements to the 2008 plan.

As we reported in May, the BLM is revising their plan for oil shale and tar sands leasing on nearly 2.5 million acres of public lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

With the internationally renowned climbing, paddling, mountain biking and hiking found in this region that could be affected by extractive energy development, Outdoor Alliance submitted detailed comments and maps. We asked the BLM to protect recreation resources and the sustainable local economies these resources support, by excluding specific recreational locations from development.

In the final plan, significantly fewer areas will be made available for leasing—half the area for shale leasing and a third for tar sands. Some of the places protected from development include major recreation assets we advocated for, like Desolation Canyon and the White River. But some significant places are still open for leasing. These include the San Rafael Swell, the White Canyon and other areas with great hiking and canyoneering resources.

Here are side by side comparisons for each state: 

UT

UT 

WY 

Although the final BLM leasing plan is an improvement, we will continue to work with the BLM to protect all the treasured places we identified.

You can find the 2008 oil shale and tar sands proposal here. The entire 2012 plan and all the relevant maps are available from the BLM here. Our comparison maps are also available here.

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