LETTER: Facts not right in drilling leases story | PostIndependent.com

LETTER: Facts not right in drilling leases story

I read with interest Michael McLaughlin’s article “Message is Clear to BLM” in Wednesday’s Post Independent. His article indicates that the IBLA ruled that the 1993 leasing EIS done by the Forest Service was illegal. The IBLA did not rule on any of the Forest Service documents, because they lacked administrative jurisdiction. The IBLA did rule that the BLM needed to concur with the Forest Service assessment or do their own evaluation and remanded the decision back to them for administrative correction.

He then goes on to quote Mr. Seldin saying that speculation of future value of a lease is forbidden by the Minerals Leasing Act and presidential policy. I have read the Minerals Leasing Act and all its amendments, and I was unable to find this forbidden section. As to presidential policy, I am not sure what he is referring to. If he would make that clear by citing the appropriate section of the law, I’m sure your readers would appreciate it,

McLaughlin goes on to indicate that in 2010 the BLM partially canceled four leases that were issued illegally in the same lands as Sunlight Mountain Resort. He then goes on to say “Federal law directly prohibits leasing within ski areas, but that provision of federal law was not observed when the lands were leased in 2003.” This is confusing, because since I was the one who processed those leases for the Forest Service I was not aware of any such law, and am still not aware of any such law. I do know that if you look at the 1993 leasing EIS you will find that Sunlight Ski Area was made available with a NSO stipulation. Sunlight was in a high potential for oil and gas resources, so we felt that with directional drilling the minerals below the ski area could be developed without impacting the ski area. So, I would appreciate knowing the citation of this law that you are referring to.

I appreciate your keeping on top of this, but it is imperative that you make sure the information is correct.

Gary T. Osier


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