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US Forest Service. An Overview of Energy Resource Extraction in the National Forest System. Organization and Structure. Agency of the US Dept. of Agriculture National Office in Washington, DC Nine Regional Offices Individual National Forests Chief Forester Regional Foresters

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us forest service

US Forest Service

An Overview of Energy Resource Extraction in the National Forest System

organization and structure
Organization and Structure
  • Agency of the US Dept. of Agriculture
  • National Office in Washington, DC
    • Nine Regional Offices
      • Individual National Forests
  • Chief Forester
    • Regional Foresters
      • Forest Supervisors
        • Forest Rangers
mineral geology management
Mineral & Geology Management
  • Missions:
    • Facilitate energy, mineral, & geologic activities within National Forests
    • Incorporate National Energy Policy into USFS operating procedures
general responsibilities of usfs
General Responsibilities of USFS
  • Tasked with :
    • Conservation & utilization of natural resources in National Forests & Grasslands
    • Promotion of resources for public, private, and government use
usfs energy policy
USFS Energy Policy
  • Further responsibilities:
    • Monitor exploration, development, and production of energy resources
    • Ensure all work on USFS lands is done is in an environmentally sensitive fashion
    • Work with Dept. of Interior to facilitate energy resource extraction
the auction
The Auction
  • The BLM holds auctions throughout the year
  • Rarely do competitive auctions actually occur
  • Leases are usually sold in 10 year increments
  • Sold with stipulations including: the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act, among others
application for permit to drill apd
Application for Permit to Drill (APD)
  • Once the buyer is ready to develop the parcel, they must fill out an APD (Application for Permit to Drill)
  • The APD is turned into the BLM
  • The APD must include
    • A drilling plan for the well or wells
    • If the field will be developed, a Plan of Development
    • A surface use plan
    • Plans for reclamation of the site at the end of its production life
  • The applicant must also post a performance bond before the APD can be approved
  • The BLM or Forest Service can add mitigation measures prior to approval of the APD
geological considerations and environmental protection
Geological considerations and environmental protection
  • The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the BLM to involve the public in significant decisions
  • BLM uses its own regulations to implement NEPA, as well as regulations issued by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)
  • Most APDs are done using an Environmental Assessment (EA), a less detailed form of the full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
  • NEPA does not mandate involvement of the public in an EA process, but BLM generally does post notices of draft EAs and will take public comment
usda forest service
USDA Forest Service
  • One form is filled out for the BLM and the USDA Forest Service
  • Due to the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, the BLM instructs the Forest Service to ensure there is FONSI (Finding of No Significant Impact) on the lease
  • The Forest Service does this in accord with NEPA including sending Forest Rangers to inspect the site
  • The Forest Service is mostly interested in the surface use plan and the plans for reclamation at the end of the life of the lease
  • If the BLM reports FONSI (Finding of No Significant Impact) the NEPA process ends and work can begin
finding of significant impact
Finding of Significant Impact

A Finding of Significant Impact will see the agency either take steps to mitigate the impacts, with a revised decision notice being done, or moving to a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).