Published: November 4, 2013
By: Earthworks et. al.
The Western Environmental Law Center along with San Juan Citizens Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Parks Conservation Association, Earthworks, and Sheep Mountain Alliance (together “Conservation Groups”) submit the following Appeal regarding the San Juan National Forest Final Oil and Gas Leasing Availability Decision (hereinafter “Decision”). The Decision is closely tied to the joint San Juan National Forest and Tres Rios Field Office Land and Resource Management Plan (“LRMP”), the collective authorizations for which share a Final Environmental Impact Statement (“FEIS”), covering three related, but separate, records of decision. This revised joint LRMP and FEIS replaces the 1983 San Juan National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan and the 1985 San Juan/San Miguel Resource Management Plan.
The Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) and U.S. Forest Service (“USFS”) have prepared the LRMP and FEIS jointly, providing a framework for the future management direction of lands administered by the Tres Rios Field Office (“TRFO”) and San Juan National Forest (“SJNF”), comprising eleven counties in southwest Colorado and covering a 3-millionacre planning area and a 2.37 million acre oil and gas leasing area. Conservation Groups have consistently participated in the planning process for the LRMP and FIES – specifically by submitting comments on April 11, 2008 regarding the Draft EIS, and again on November 25, 2011 regarding the Supplement to the Draft EIS, both of which are incorporated herein by this reference – and have interests that are adversely affected by planning decisions made in the FEIS. See 43 C.F.R. § 1610.5-2. According to the FIES, “[t]he USFS considers leasing availability decisions to be separate from but closely linked to planning decisions, with both planning- and project-level components. Oil and gas leasing is analyzed together for both agencies in this FEIS.” FEIS at 1. Consequently, Conservation Groups’ concerns regarding the USFS oil and gas leasing availability decision in this appeal closely relate, and, thus, follow our concerns related to the LRMP decisions by the two agencies.