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5 Land Use Planning for Oil and Gas BACKGROUND The basic question posed for the committee is how to integrate the planning and environmental analysis requirements of federal law with leas- ing. The courts have interpreted existing statutes to require the BLM and the Forest Service to consider possible mineral development in devising their land use plans; to require preparation of EISs before making irre- trievable commitments to develop federal minerals if development would involve significant environmental impacts; and to give expansive definition to "significant," creating a low threshold for triggering the EIS require- ment. There is disagreement about the practical effects of the judicial rulings. Moreover, the agencies' own responses to the issues confronted by the courts are still evolving. Both the Forest Service and the BLM continue to modify their planning and NEPA regulations and guidelines. New plans attempt to address these issues in new or at least more fully considered ways. Additional guidelines have been issued as planning has progressed. Even the most recently approved plans do not reflect all of the current planning guidelines. An additional problem is posed by the more than 80,000 oil and gas leases now in force on the federal lands, many of which were issued before leasing was given the level of attention in land use plans or NEPA documents that it receives today. The existing lessees may have property rights that cannot be extinguished without just compensation. Proceeding with exploration and development, however, might be inconsistent with 54

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ss emerging notions of what kind of development and environmental impact is acceptable. CURRENT PI^NNING DIRECTION The basic planning approaches used by the BLM and the Forest Service, and required by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA; 43 USC 1701-1782) and the National Forest Management Act (NE7MA; 16 USC 1601-1604) are similar. The planning acts for both the For- est Service and the BLM require "comprehensive" and "interdisciplinary" planning. This approach is consistent with the rational comprehensive planning models of the planning profession (i.e., resource capabilities are compared with potential demands on the resources, and choices are made on the basis of some set of public interest criteria). Much of the detailed information used by the agencies in their analyses and in working with the public does not appear in either the draft or the final plans. As a result, reviewing just the information in the plans and EISs, which is voluminous, does not necessarily give a picture of the full extent of the materials that are used. Plans are prepared for National Forests in the case of the Forest Service and for Resource Management Areas in the case of the BLM.i The plans are based on both current and expected future uses of the lands in question, are issued in both draft and final forms, and have typically taken three to five years to complete. The plans themselves are considered major federal actions under NEPA (42 USC 4321-4370 [19703) and, therefore, are accompanied by environmental impact statements and must meet other NEPA requirements. The planning process is a primary focus for public involvement in making decisions on the federal lands. Public involvement is sought during the early stages of planning in defining issues and concerns that must be addressed, followed by a period of public comment on draft plans and the associated draft. Final plans and final EISs can be appealed. The plans are legal documents whose directives are judicially enforceable; later site-specific decisions by the agencies that are inconsistent with a plan can be enjoined, unless the plan is amended. National Forest plans must be revised at intervals no greater than 15 years (16 USC 1604(f)~5~; BLM plans have no maximum term. The ~ Both the Forest Service and the BLM planning processes apply to areas where the agency administers less than the full estate (e.g., only surface rights or only subsurface nghts), with the remaining rights in nonfederal ownership or under control of another agency. Federal planning in relation to oil and gas development can obviously be affected by the existence of these so- called split estates, because of the diminished agency control they entail. The committee has not devoted special attention to this issue, except to note its existence.

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56 BLM reviews are triggered by the emergence of issues of possible concern, whereas Forest Service plans are revised regardless of perceived "needs." Both NFMA and FI~PMA also require coordination with other federal agency, Indian, and state and local planning. Both agencies have continued to update their planning direction based on more experience with land management planning. They have also recognized court decisions requiring that more site-specific impacts, as well as cumulative impacts, of oil and gas development be evaluated prior to the issuance of leases, unless the leases reserve authority in the agency to make later separate discretionary decisions to authorize activities on leases (see Chapter 4~. Both agencies have also attempted to use some type of staged or segmented analysis of environmental impacts to compensate for the limited information available at the planning stage about the extent to which areas to be leased will be explored and developed. Concepts such as assumed or foreseeable level of development have sometimes been used as a basis for evaluating impacts and determining the areas to be leased and the conditions for leasing. Some land use decisions are made outside of the land use planning process. Congress from time to time designates portions of both Forest Senice and BLM lands to be national parks and monuments, national recreation areas, wilderness areas, wild and scenic rivers, and national trails. Generally, these designations withdraw the areas from oil and gas leasing. In addition, the agencies sometimes designate areas of land under their jurisdiction as research natural areas (Forest Service), as areas of critical environmental concern (BLM), or for other purposes that may also be attended by prohibitions or restrictions on oil and gas leasing. These designations are often made as part of Me land use planning process. Bureau of Land Management Planning Resource Management Plans (RMPs) of the BLM start at the unit level (Resource Management Areas). The FLPMA requires that the BLM initiate its land use planning by preparing and maintaining "on a continuing basis an inventory of all public lands and their resource and other values . . ." (43 USC 1711a. The specific planning directives in FLPMA are extensive and require that BLM "use a systematic interdisciplinary approach to achieve integrated consideration of physical, biological, economic, and other sciences" (43 USC 1712(c)~2~. The act also requires that an opportunity be allowed for public involvement and that regulations set procedures, including public hearings, to give other federal agencies, state and local governments, and the public an opportunity to participate in formulating plans for the federal lands (43 USC 1712(f)~. The plans are intended generally to be consistent with

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57 | Identification of Issues, Concerns, ond Opportunities Requires Public Participation Development of Planning Criterio _- Requires Public Porticipotion 1 Inventory Data and Information Collection | | Analysis of the Management Situation 1 ' | Formulation of Alternotives I -T I I I Estimation of Effects of Alternatives Resource Management Plans will be reviewed at least every 5 years. Plans will be revised at least every 15 years, or earlier if the review indicates a need for revision (43 CFR 1 601 .6 - 3). | Selection of Preferred Alternative |- Requires Public Participation . . . ~. 1 , | Selection of Resource Management Plan 1__ | Monitoring and Evoluotion Requires Public Porticipotion FIGURE 5.1 Bureau of I>nd Management resource management planning process SOURCE: Courtesy of Bureau of Inland Management. r ~ --- em row state, local, and other agency plans, but this is limited by considerations of federal law and the national interest (43 USC 1712 (c)~9~. Each plan stare with an identification of issues, which are then addressed in the plan and its land use allocation decisions. Figure 5.1 shows steps in the planning process for a typical RMP. Before enactment of the 1987 Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act (101 Stat. 1330-256), the Supplemental Program Guidance for Energy and Mineral Resources Fluid Minerals (SPA; BLM, 1986) identified the following decisions to be made at the planning stage:

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58 areas open to oil and gas leasing with standard lease terms and conditions; areas open to leasing, but subject to seasonal or minor constraints; areas open to leasing, but subject to no-surface-occupancy or other major constraints; and areas closed to leasing and development. The areas subject to each of these limitations are to be shown on maps incorporated in land use plans. In addition, the plans are to show how these limitations will affect existing leases when they expire, the lease stipulations that will be used for areas open to leasing, and the circumstances in which waivers to lease stipulations will be considered. Whether decisions made during planning that affect leasing and development of oil and gas resources also apply to the exploration phase should be noted in plans. Under the SPG for fluid minerals, the BLM has continued to offer BLM tracts for leasing. It has, however, determined that 20 of its previously completed plans need to be revised in order to satisfy the upgraded planning requirements for oil and gas in the SPG. Some tracts BLM has offered to lease have been challenged for alleged lack of NEPA compliance, but numerous tracts have been leased without challenge. Forest Service Planning The 1974 Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act (16 USC 1600-1614) and the 1976 National Forest Management Act provide guidelines that require planning at three administrative levels: national, re- gional, and individual forest, where, in an iterative process, each level provides inputs for the others. At the national level, every 10 years the Forest Service prepares an "assessment" of the forest and rangeland situa- tion. This report identifies matters of concern that are then addressed in a national "program," which is prepared on a 5-year cycle and identifies needs that can be addressed by Forest Service programs. These "programs," the most recent of which was released in 1985, specified budget needs for the Carpet ... for the. following four decades. In an iterative process, A ~ ~^ TV me ~ ~ ~ _ the national program targets are translated into its resource and program targets for each region and National Forest. There is no parallel structure for assessing national needs and making regional allocations to guide the BLM land use plans. The 1985 national "program" set a mineral and energy goal for the For- est Service: "provide for mineral prospecting and exploration, and respond to proposals for minerals development, in concert with other resource uses and values, and provide technology for reclamation of disturbed lands. Emphasize energy minerals and minerals of strategic importance." The production of energy minerals from the National Forests is projected to

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so increase between 32 and 40 percent from 1986, the base year, to 2030. The energy minerals category includes coal, of which the National Forests have large reserves. But it is clear from this projection that the Forest Service expects to continue to make land available for exploration for oil and gas and probably at higher than current levels. Implications for regional goals are not clearly addressed in the 1985 program. The Forest Sentence planning process Is delineated in Figure 5.2. The Forest Service also uses a sophisticated resource allocation model during the land use planning process. This model, FORPLAN, originally designed to analyze timber resource allocations, is now used to make estimates of the present net value of alternative land use allocations based on their estimated future costs and benefits. FORPLAN is used mainly as a tool in describing results of alternative land use and resource allocations, rather than as a device for reaching final planning decisions. FORPLAN computer runs are used in the public participation process to describe some possible effects of alternatives. '! On January 23, 1989, the Forest Service proposed rules by which it would implement the statutory responsibilities for management of oil and gas leasing and attendant surface-disturbing activities conducted on National Forest lands (54 Fed. Reg. 3326 [19893~. These proposed rules were issued to implement the expanded authority given to the Secretary of Agriculture by the Reform Act in the management of oil and gas resources on National Forest System lands. The proposal outlines the following four steps that would precede all competitive lease sales involving National Forest System land. The process is delineated in a flow chart (Figure 5.3~. 1. The agency would identify lands with potential for leasing This would be done within six months of the effective date of the rules. Forest supervisors would identify those areas under their jurisdiction that have potential for oil and gas leasing, and that had not previously been evaluated for their suitability for oil and gas leasing. The rules propose that an area be identified as having potential for leasing if (1) there is ongoing oil and gas production in the area, (2) the geologic environment of the area is known to be favorable for the accumulation of oil and gas resources, or (3) there is ongoing industry interest in obtaining oil and gas leases for the area. 2. Lands identified with potential for oil and gas would be reviewed for leasing suitability. Certain lands would be excluded from this suitability review because they are not available for oil and gas leasing because of previous decisions such as withdrawals, or because they are recommended wilderness areas or roadless areas currently undergoing evaluation. Avail- able lands then would be further analyzed to determine whether leasing is

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60 Define the Problem ICO s, laws and regulations, planning criteria, data collection Anal yze Poten tial Dev. Rec., Dis. Rec., Timber, Wildlife. Wilderness 1 Devel op Al tern atives formulation, effects, evaluation Decide on Solution Proposed Plan and Draft EIS ~ , Final Plan and Final ENS Record of Decision Manage the Program in-.p~emen tation, mon itoring anc evalu ation, amenomen ts and revisions 90- day Public Review and Comment FIGURE 5.2 Forest Senace resource management planning process. SOURCE: Courted of Forest Service. consistent with the land use plan or at least not precluded by the plan, and whether the lands designated are suitable for leasing with certain stipula- tions. That process would also include an identification of conditions of surface occupancy and use that would be attached as stipulations in any leases issued for the area to ensure consistency with law and the land use plan for the area. 3. The outcome of each suitabi~ renew would be communicated to the Bureau of Land Management and public notice would be given. At this

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61 1. Agency IDEHTIfIES LANDS WITH POTENTIAL for leasing (factors: existing production, known geologic potential, and i ndustry i merest ~ n areas ) 2. Agency REVIEWS LANDS FOR LEASING SUITABILITY 3. Agency DETERMINES IF LANbS ARE SUITABLE for leasing (i.e., lands are avai a e or easing, leasing consistent with Forest plan or not precluded by plan, or lands can be suitable for leasing with certain stipulations) 4. Agency/BLM CONDUCTS NEP1 ANALYSIS AND DOCUMENTATION Gives pub iC not ce. c is on appea a e. 5. BLM HOLDS COMPETITIVE LEASE SALE 1 Parcels are sold 6. BLH ISSUES LEASE 7. LESSEE SUBMITS AND TO BLM 8. BLM FORWARDS SURFACE USE PLAN TO fOREST SERVICE 9. FS AND BLM CONDUCT NEPA COMPLIANCE AND REQUIRE BONDING 1 Parcels not 1 Aught Available for application for 2 years 1 appl ication no appl ication FS APPROVES-------------------------(SUBJECT TO APPEAL)-----------------------FS DISAPPROVES 10. OPERATIONS CO - ENCE (Once the BLM has aDDroved down hole use) Producer 1 11. SUPPLEMENTAL SURFACE USE PLAN OF OPERATIONS 12. NEPA COMPLIANCE AND RECISION PROCESS REPEATED (SUBJECT TO APPEAL) WELL DEPLETES 13. OPERATOR COMPLETES RECLAMATION 14. BLM RELEASES BOND FIGURE 5.3 Proposed Forest Service oil and gas leasing and operations process. SOURCE: Forest Service (1989c). point the NEPA analysis and documentation would be completed, and a final decision would be made as to whether the Forest Service would object to leasing the area. That decision can be appealed up through the Forest Service administrative appeal process. 4. The BLM would hold a competitive lease sale. From this point on, the Forest Service and BLM processes would be identical. The Forest Service would be required to approve or disapprove a surface use plan of operations for National Forest System land.

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62 Initially, because leasing and planning stages have not been synchro- nized, steps 1 through 3 would be conducted based on existing land use plans. Ultimately, as plans are reviewed, the resource, suitability, and environmental reviews would be done at the planning stages. STATUS OF LAND USE PI^NS Both the Forest Service and the BLM are still preparing some of the first round of land use plans under NFMA and FLPMN The last 38 National Forest plans are scheduled for completion in 1989, all but two of them for National Forests in the West Coast states of California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska (Forest Service, 1989c). Completion of these plans has been delayed by disputes over issues generally unrelated to oil and gas leasing. Only two plans in other states remain to be completed. One of these is for the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming, where oil and gas exploration issues are significant. The BLM had 55 approved RMPs on December 1, 1988, and 35 more are scheduled to be completed by the end of 1992. Conflict and controversy over the planning process persist. Both envi- ronmental and industry representatives have criticized the Forest Service's proposed regulations. At least 28 Forest Service land use plans, 13 Bureau of Land Management land use plans, and 8 lease sales (since the Reform Act) have been protested or appealed through administrative channels be- cause of alleged deficiencies in planning for, or environmental analysis of, oil and gas activities. A problem for the committee in analyzing land use planning as it relates to oil and gas leasing is that direction for both agencies has been changing constantly over the last 13 years since the passage of NFMA and FLPMA Such planning is also complicated by existing leases, which pose different issues of regulatory authority than new leases. Currently completed plans in most cases do not reflect the most recent direction because the plans were completed before the directives were issued. Evaluation of Oil and Gas Resources for Planning Lack of information on potential mineral resources is a problem at the land use planning stage because of the need to examine potential impacts of resource development in plans. If there has been no exploration or development of oil and gas in the area, it is often impossible to predict the presence, quantity, quality, or other characteristics of the area's potential petroleum resources. This stems from lack of specific information on the subsurface geology of all or part of the planning area. The five geological conditions necessary for oil and gas development are typically discovered

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63 only during exploration. Of the five conditions necessary for hydrocarbon production, only one can be determined without drilling, and even that is usually determined by inference from seismic or other information collected on the surface: 1. Geologists look for subsurface structures that are favorable for trapping hydrocarbons (Figure 5.4~. Such structures generally can be de- tected by seismic reflection techniques. A seismic survey will typically require a field crew to occupy the land surface along a series of survey lines for a period of days or weeks. Seismic reflection surveys provide an acoustical cross section of the earth that resembles a geologic cross sec- tion. From a series of acoustical cross sections, a petroleum geologist can determine (within a few hundred feet) the preferred locations for drilling. The presence or absence of favorable geologic conditions is all that can be determined by geological and geophysical studies. Whether oil or gas is present in a structure can only be determined by drilling, except in rare circumstances. 2. The second necessary condition is porosity. Rock must have ade- quate pores or open spaces between grains or rock fragments where oil or gas can collect. Typical petroleum-bearing rocks have from 5 to as much as 25 percent of their volume in pores. Porosity can be ascertained only by obtaining samples of the rock or by making geophysical measurements in a hole drilled through the rock unit. 3. A third condition is permeability. Pores must be connected to each other so that fluid can flow readily from one pore to another toward lower- pressure conditions, such as a subsurface trap or, ultimately, a pumping well. As with porosity, permeability cannot be measured without drilling. 4. The fourth necessary condition is a source of hydrocarbons. The vast majority of producible hydrocarbons comes from previous life forms, mostly microscopic plants and animals that were entrapped in sediments in the last 600 million years of geologic time. The sediments were later buried to sufficient depths and subjected to sufficient heat, and pressure matures the hydrocarbons into forms that will flow as fluids, either as oil or natural gas. 5. Finally, the hydrocarbons must move to the borehole in response to changing pressure conditions. This phenomenon, known as "drive," requires that the fluids in the reservoir be under sufficient pressure to flow toward a well. If there is no drive, there will be little or no production from a well completed in a reservoir. Drive is measured by a variety of methods, all of which require a drill hole. If producing fields exist nearby, it is often possible to extrapolate porosity, permeability, and drive conditions from one reservoir to another.

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64 ~= - S ~ a _ ~ c ~ rid, an 0 0 V, _ .4 "m Ct _ ._ Cc) (_) C) O :: L. ~ - ~ ~3 C) O >` .o O ~ a: LU o . I..

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76 period in ten areas of high coal development interest in six states and held a workshop thereafter in which the BLM offices in those six states reviewed the test results and made recommendations for changes in the criteria and the procedures used in applying them. The BLM has since conducted several comprehensive reviews of the performance of the surface coal mining unsuitability review process, resulting in four substantive rule makings to alter or eliminate certain criteria and their exemptions. Despite their similar origins, and their similar purpose as a screening mechanism early in the land use process, the surface coal mining and timber production unsuitability reviews have significant differences. The coal unsuitability criteria are set forth fully in rules; the timber unsuitability criteria are published fully only in the Forest Service handbook, an internal document not subject to public participation. The coal unsuitability criteria are numerous and more detailed; the timber unsuitability criteria are few and general. The coal unsuitability criteria are concerned only with environmental values, while the timber unsuitability criteria include both environmental and economic considerations. As described by the Interior Department (1979), the 20 surface coal mining unsuitability criteria can be divided into four categories: criteria that are required by section 522 of SMCRA (e.g., protected federal lands such as designated wilderness and wild and scenic rivers, buffer zones along rights-of-way, and land adjacent to certain public, church, and community buildings); criteria that are discretionary under section 522 of SMCRA (e.g., land used for scientific studies, municipal watersheds, and floodplains); criteria that embody requirements under other statutes that the In- terior Department chose to enforce through the application of unsuitability criteria (e.g., habitat for federally listed, threatened or endangered species; bald and golden eagle nests, roosts, and concentration areas; falcon nesting sites; alluvial valley floors; sites on the National Register of Historic Places; and National Natural Landmarks); and criteria that are not required by statute but that the Interior De- partment chose to apply in its discretion as good public policy (e.g., Class I scenic areas, habitats of state-listed threatened and endangered species, high-priority habitats for certain migratory birds, certain species of high state interest, and certain federally approved state criteria). Most of the criteria are sufficiently specific to be simple to apply once the basic data are collected. Also, to prevent undue preclusion of land from surface coal mining, the criteria are narrowly drawn. For example, floodplains are determined by 100 year recurrence intervals, right-of-way buffer zones can be no wider than 100 feet from the outside line of the right- of-way, and habitat of federal threatened or endangered species must be

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77 designated critical habitat or "habitat which is determined to be of essential value and where the presence of threatened or endangered species has been scientifically documented." Finally, most of the criteria have exceptions and exemptions that permit a determination of suitability under certain circumstances even when the criteria apply. As summarized in the 1979 Secretarial Issue Document, `'some of the criteria involve interpretations of legal requirements within circumscribed limits; others represent an attempt to set broader limits on field-level resource management judgments that have previously been entirely discretionary" (Department of the Interior, 1979~. The Forest Service has adopted five criteria to determine lands that would be unsuitable for timber production. These criteria include eco- nomic, as well as environmental, considerations, reflecting the NFbIA's requirement that the Forest Service's planning regulations specify land use plan guidelines '~which insure consideration of the economic and envi- ronmental aspects of various systems of renewable resource management" (16 USC 1604(g)~3~(A)~. The five criteria specifically reflect the NFMA's requirements for land use plan guidelines for timber harvesting (16 USC 1604 (g)~3~), and do not incorporate requirements of other laws or include discretionary "public policy" considerations. The criteria are . lands "withdrawn from timber production" by the Congress, the Secretary of Agriculture, or the Chief of the Forest Service (e.g., units of the National Wilderness Preservation System and Research Natural Areas); lands "incapable of producing industrial wood," including tree species not likely to be utilized within the next 10 years; lands that are "physically [unisuitable forest land" because tech- nology is unavailable to ensure timber production '~without irreversible resource damage to soils productivity or watershed conditions"; lands that are "physically [unisuitable forest lands" because ade- quate restocking is unlikely to occur within 5 years; and lands for which "there is not adequate information available, based on current research and experience, to project responses to timber manage- ment practices," with particular reference to lands classified as incapable of producing 20 cubic feet per acre per year (see Forest Service, 1989b, Chapter 20~. The committee notes that many incipient unsuitability criteria for on- shore oil and gas leasing are already in place in one form or another. For example, the "standard mitigation guidelines for surface-disturbing activi- ties" developed by the Wyoming office of the Bureau of Land Management from its standard oil and gas lease stipulations, include such potential cri- teria as "slopes in excess of 25 percent," land "within either one~uarter mile or the visual horizon (whichever is closer) of historic trails," and other

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78 wildlife, cultural resource and special management categories (e.g., sage grouse strutting grounds, raptor nesting sites, campgrounds, reservoirs, occupied dwellings, rights-of-way, and special natural history or paleon- tological features3 (document provided to the committee by the Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming State Office). Further refined and with proper exception procedures, such criteria would resemble formal unsuit- ability criteria of either general or regional applicability. Also reported to the committee was a joint effort of several environmental organizations and officials of the Intenor Department in the summer of 1988 to identify certain circumstances under which oil and gas leasing should be precluded (see France, 1989~. EVALUATING THE IMPACTS OF OIL AND GAS EXPLORATION AND DE VELOPMENT ON WILDLIFE Wildlife is among the resources that must be considered in BLM and Forest Service planning. Impacts on wildlife should be considered in the land use plans if oil and gas leasing is contemplated. Impacts include physical disturbance of habitat, including groundwater and surface water, and activities, such as human presence and equipment use, that interfere with wildlife. The concern to be addressed in planning is wildlife's need for adequate food, water, and cover and for its interactions free of extraordinary external influences. The impact of oil and gas exploration and development on wildlife is highly site-specific and varies from low to high depending on the location, intensity, extent, and nature of mitigation measures, and on the species of wildlife. 13rpes of impacts on wildlife from oil and gas activities include displacement of wildlife from critical winter range; disturbance of wildlife by people, equipment, or facilities, particu- larly during breeding, birthing, or other critical times of the year; damage to aquatic systems, including riparian areas, from spill of salt water or other contaminants, sedimentation, and direct impacts of construction on streams and adjacent riparian areas, including loss of vegetation; impacts on important wildlife habitats and activities from the con- struction and maintenance of access roads, pipelines, and other facilities required to support the oil and gas exploration and development; intensive human activity from oil and gas operations, including maintenance activities that require daily access to work areas and unrelated public use of roads and adjacent areas, with possible increases in poaching; modification or loss of small but irreplaceable habitat for threatened or endangered species.

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79 These impacts can, to some degree, be avoided if identified early in the planning and leasing processes and if appropriate action is taken. For example, critical winter ranges are reasonably well known and can be identified by most state fish and wildlife agencies. Restrictions on seasons during which exploration or development may occur can be quite effective in reducing that impact But special restrictions are only effective if they are actually implemented. A complicating factor in evaluating potential oil and gas impacts on wildlife is whether adjacent leases will be developed simultaneously or whether other types of use will occur in the same or adjacent areas and also have impacts on the same species or population of wildlife. The typical lag that occurs between planning and subsequent leasing, exploration, and development, and the uncertainties regarding the type and extent of development, make it difficult to specify during planning the kinds of situations that will occur when exploration and development take place. Impacts on wildlife during exploration may be transient and limited enough in terms of time of the year to have only temporary effect. The direct impact from construction of drill sites and drilling is usually substan- tial~ less than that of associated activities such as roads, pipelines, and other facilities, which are most difficult to envision at the planning stage. The impacts on wildlife are usually greatest during the development phase when roads, pads, and pipelines are being constructed. The operation and maintenance phase typically requires much less human and equipment ac- tivity in an area, and such activity may be substantially controlled to limit impacts on wildlife and fish. It is clear that the type and significance of impacts on wildlife and fish due to oil and gas exploration and development are highly variable and relate both to specific species and their habitat and to the nature and extent of oil and gas operations. There have been a few studies of the impacts of oil and gas development on fish and wildlife, such as fish losses from oil or saltwater spills and increased sedimentation, and disturbance of critical wildlife habitat due to oil and gas development. A realistic evaluation of the probable future impact on fish and wildlife from development of a proposed lease requires access to substantial information on the specific fish and wildlife species in the area, their important habitats, and some understanding of the extent and nature of development that may take place, including associated roads, pipelines, and support facilities. More is usually known about wildlife during planning than is known about the potential Ape and nature of future oil and gas exploration and development. A report published by the Ad Hoc Oil and Gas Exploration Committee of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (1989) underscores the need to bring the professional expertise of state and

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80 federal wildlife agencies to bear in the evaluation of potential wildlife and fish impacts from oil and gas exploration and development. LIMITATIONS OF PI^NNING FOR OIL AND GAS Unrealistic expectations have been built around the ability of the land use planning process to resolve all of the conflicts among uses of the federal lands. This is evident for oil and gas development as one of the uses. Such development has proceeded, and presumably will proceed, on a schedule that is not controlled by the planning cycle. The committee has noted elsewhere that the length of time from planning to drilling can pose problems (see Figure 1.2, p. 12~. The land use planning cycle is 10 to 15 years. When combined with lease terms of 5 and 10 years, there can be as much as 30 to 35 years between the time a plan is drafted and a well field is developed; this time lag is exacerbated when implementation of plans is delayed. The land use planning now being done by the Forest Service and the BLM has significantly improved the allocation of lands among competing uses. It has also helped in directing the use of environmental quality controls for oil and gas development on federal lands. Nevertheless, there are limitations to the planning process and in the information that is available for planning decisions. Some of them are noted in the following sections. Economic Analysis in the Planning Process Economic analysis is used in the planning process, especially in the preparation of Forest Service plans. As noted earlier, the Forest Service uses an economic optimization model, FORPLAN, to describe some of the effects of alternatives. Economics is used as only one of the criteria considered in planning, which is consistent with the statutory concept of multiple use in the Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act and FLPMA that decisions are not to be made solely on the basis of dollar values. The economic analyses are typically used in the public involvement process to describe one kind of impact of allocating lands to alternative uses. The economic analyses in plans that the committee reviewed help explain the relative values that are being compared in the planning process. But caution is needed with the numbers that are used, as shouts in the draft EIS for the Bridger-Teton Forest plan. The draft EIS shows the estimated annual value (in 1982 dollars) of the benefits from each of the major resource uses of the Bridger-Teton for each of five decades in the plan projection. In Able 5.1 the economic calculations for a typical alternative show estimates of the present net value of the sum of both estimated market

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81 TABLE 5.1 Estimated Annual Value of Resource Benefits on the Bndger-Teton National Forest (thousands of 1982 dollars) Decade 2 3 4 s Recreation9,3989,79310,21010,49610,795 Wildemess3,9103,9103,9103,9103,910 Wildlife/Wish4,9404,8964,8274,9485,029 Range1,6751,6831,6911,7001,708 Timber4,2574,2955,1534,4564,388 Water73135118148172 Minerals28,09528,09528,09528,09528,095 SOURCE: Forest Service (1989a). and "assigned" (nonmarket) value (Forest Service, 1989a, EIS, App. B. Sec. 6-126~. The relationship between estimated mineral values and other resource values was much the same for each of the other alternatives in the Bndger- ~ton plan. The table shows that mineral values, mainly from oil and gas, estimated by the Forest Service are much higher than the estimated values of any of the other uses of this forest. Care must be exercised, however, in interpreting these figures. The estimated mineral values in the Bndger-Teton plan are based on statewide averages for leased oil and gas lands in Wyoming for the 10 years prior to the draft plan. These were $13.00 per acre for royalties ($108.68 for producing land), $1.25 for rentals, and $10.00 for bonus payments (based on 1988 results), for a total of about $24.00 per acre for leased land. Such averages can only give some sense of relative aggregated values of alternative land allocations. Oil and gas, if they are available in producible quantities on the Bridger-Teton, will generally have higher dollar values than the surface resources and uses with which they compete. The present values of the expected stream of future rentals and royalties plus the values of bonus payments from competitive leasing clearly exceed the present value of timber sales or grazing receipts, as well as dollar values that are assigned to recreation. However, oil and gas values will not necessarily be higher than those of other resources in all cases where they compete on the forest. Prospective

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82 oil and gas values vary widely from place to place, just as the values of surface resources vary widely. Area-specific comparisons between oil and gas and competing uses must be based on the values that are relevant to each area. Another difficulty in using expected oil and gas values is evident in the Bridger-Teton analysis. It shows a constant level of revenues from oil and gas for each of the next five decades. Inasmuch as oil and gas leasing on the forest has been halted until the land use plan is completed and leases typically are not drilled for some years after they are let, it is unlikely that full production will occur during the first two decades of the projection period. For economic comparisons based on future values that are discounted to the present, as in the FORPLAN model, timing of the projected income stream is important. The further in the future income is projected to occur, the less impact it has on present value calculations. Thus, comparisons can be skewed by the timing of projected production. Results of the economic analysis in the Lewis and Clark Forest plan are quite different. Timber values used in the plan far exceed those for oil and gas. The estimated present net value of timber in the Forest Service's "preferred" alternative is $215,770,000, while that for oil and gas development is $850,000 (Forest SeIvice, 1984, p. 2-111~. The only projected oil and gas revenues in the Lewis and Clark Forest plan are for annual rentals on leases. In other words, this plan projects no bonuses from the sale of leases or royalties from oil and gas production. This seems as unlikely as the assumption in the Bridger-Teton Forest plan that substantial additional production will occur in the next decade. Role of Values in Planning for Oil and Gas Development Most of the conflicts over oil and gas leasing and development involve disagreements over the value to be assigned to alternative land uses between parties who assign different values to land. Land, including the animals, plants, and other objects attached to it, takes on importance to people because of the satisfaction it provides. Land may be important because it is a tradable commodity, or it may be valued as an unaltered state of nature. A distinction is often made between commodity and noncommod- ity values on the federal lands. Both categories have ambiguities. For example, opportunities for recreation are sometimes bought and sold in ordinary market transactions, but in other cases, recreation is a free good (a noncommodity). Some uses of the federal lands have largely symbolic importance; for example, the significance of federal land uses to people's or communities' life-styles. It seems clear, and the agencies have recognized, that the kinds of evaluations made with formal models, such as FORPLAN, have to be

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83 supplemented with other ways of weighing noncommodity and commodity values. Public participation is a critical part of the planning process because of the role it plays in such comparisons. Information and Planning While the lack of information on oil and gas resources at the planning stage is a serious problem, there is also a lack of reliable information on other resources and uses of the federal lands. How to measure noncom- modity uses and values and weigh them against competing commodity uses limits the usefulness of formal planning models. Nevertheless, other kinds of information are also frequently lacking. How oil and gas development affects wildlife behavior is especially important. Behavior of some species of wildlife in the wild generally appears to be well understood and documented. Not as well understood is how different wildlife species react to people's activities, such as those associ- ated with oil and gas exploration and development. The committee was told, for example, that research shows that mountain goats suffer more stress, which affects reproduction, than other large wildlife species from the activities associated with exploration. But it was not clear over what period and space the goats would be affected or how these effects could be minimized. On the other hand, the committee was also told that some species are adaptable and seem to be little affected by either exploration-or development. Planning in relation to wildlife is complicated by the range of activities that are associated with both exploration and development, from the use of explosives and helicopters during seismic exploration to heavy equipment and road traffic during exploratory well drilling and subsequent development. Mitigating measures, such as avoiding exploration or development in specified areas during certain times of the year, are apparently effective to a degree. But it also is clear that information on wildlife behavior in relation to people's activities cannot be extrapolated from one wildlife species to another. Some skepticism about the kinds of wildlife information used in planning oil and gas exploration and development is warranted. Estimated dollar values for noncommodity resources that have no regularly assigned market values can be misleading. As noted in the discussion of the Bridger-lLton Forest plan, the way in which average values are used in planning for commodity resources, such as oil and gas, timber, and grazing, is questionable. The characterizations of aesthetic resources and how they are affected by development are generally vague. This is not to say that the analyses that are part of the planning process are not worthwhile, but the information used in the planning process is often not adequate for planning decisions, which puts much of the burden

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84 for evaluating possible effects of oil and gas development on the public involvement process. In view of the large size of BLM and Forest Service planning units, the detail in the plans is surprisingly good. Restrictions are usually identified in the plans for fairy specific units of land. Plans show stipulations generally in three categories standard, special (which typically includes timing restnctions), and no surface occupancy. The lack of information on oil and gas potentials during the current round of planning will be corrected in part during the next round of planning. As leasing and exploration proceed, the next generation of plans can be based on new exploration data. The number of truly frontier exploration areas on the federal lands will inevitably diminish While the amount of information that is assembled during planning is impressive, the way information is stored and used, especial after plans are completed, appears often to lack purpose. Information on at least some Forest Service planning units is being organized in a Geographic Information System (GIS) using computers for information storage and retrieval. This approach could be used on all planning units. Land Use Plans and Environmental Renews The planning process is driven not only by BLM and Forest Service planning statutes, but also by the requirements of NEPA, the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 USC 1531-1543), and other federal laws. Thus, land use plans have to be read in the context of the other analyses to which they are "tiered" and that are subsumed under them. While this is not necessarily a problem for the careful reader, the complexity of the planning process sometimes poses problems for the public and even for the specialist. Oil and gas exploration and development is a serious issue in those areas that the committee visited and for which it reviewed plans. The seriousness of this issue, however, is not readily apparent in the barrage of paper included with the plans. Oil and gas development is an important issue in the Bridger-Teton Forest, for example, but the sheer bunk of the single-spaced, 1,62~page plan and environmental impact statement obscures its role and importance on this unit of federal lands. The many requirements placed on the agencies in preparing land use plans, as well as the tendency to focus on timber, grazing, and other surface resource issues, often obscure important oil and gas exploration and development issues. The scenarios used to describe reasonably foreseeable oil and gas development in the West HiLine (BLM) and Bridger-Teton Forest Servicer plans are useful in relating possible effects on surface resources and their uses. The approaches are somewhat different in the two plans, but both achieve the goal of shedding light on the possible environmental impacts of

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85 oil and gas development. The Bridger-~ton plan is more detailed and site- specific than the West HiLine plan, but that may be appropriate in view of the intensity of the conflicts among possible land uses on the Bridger-~ton National Forest. Language in the version of the Reform Act that passed the House of Representatives (House of Representatives, 1987, 100th Congress, H.R. 2851) would have required new or amended plans to identify potential areas of oil and gas development; analyze the social, economic, and environmental consequences of oil and gas development; and identify specific protective stipulations and the areas where they would be applied. The Bndger- ~ton plan does all of this, perhaps in greater detail than any other plan for federal lands. It is more specific about potential areas for oil and gas development than other plans that the committee reviewed. All of the plans reviewed by the committee contained analyses of the social, economic, and environmental consequences of oil and gas development, although, as described earlier, the analyses were Epically limited by the lack of site- specific information on possible oil and gas exploration and development. These plans also identified protective stipulations that would be used and where they would be applied. REFERENCES Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior. 1979. Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act Unsuitability Rule. Washington, D.C. Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior. 1983. Headwatem Resource Management Plan and Final Environment Impact Statement. Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior. 1986. Supplemental Program Guidance for Energy and Mineral Resources-Fluid Minerals. November 14. Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior. 1988. West HiLine.Resource Management Plan and Anal Environmental Impact Statement. Department of the Interior. 1979. Secretarial Issue Document. Federal Coal Management Program. Forest Service. 1979. Final Environmental Impact Statement for Roadless Area Review and Evaluation. FS 325. January. Forest Service. 1981a. Environmental Assessment for Oil and Gas Leasing on Nonwilderness Lands. February 18. Forest Service. 1981b. Environmental Assessment: Oil and Gas Leasing: Deep Creek and Reservoir North RARE II Further Planning Areas. Lewis and Clark National Forest. January Forest Service. 198Z Lewis and Clark National Forest. Geophysical Exploration on Non- wilderness Lands. July 2. Forest Service. 1984. Lewis and Clark National Forest Plan. Forest Service. 1989a. Bridger-Teton National Forest Plan (draft final) and Environmental Impact Statement (draft final). Forest Service. 1989b. Timber Resource Planning Handbook. FSH2409.13. Forest Service. 1989c. Oil and Gas Resources Proposed Rule. Fed. Reg. 54~13~:3326-3339. France, T.M. 1989. Testimony of Thomas M. France (National Wildlife Federation) before the National Research Council Committee on Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing. May 15.

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86 International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. 1989. State and Federal Guidelines for Protecting Fish and Wildlife Resources in Areas Of Oil and Gas Development. Report of the Ad Hoc Oil and Gas Exploration Committee. Washington, D.C. Wilkinson, C.F., and Anderson, H.M. 1985. Land and Resource Planning in the National Forests. Oregon L. Rev. 64~1~:261-263.