Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
New Mexico Ecological Services Participates in the first Oil and Gas Pilot Project Workshop, November 15-17, 2006
Southwest Region, November 17, 2006
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The New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office participted in a workshop in Denver, Colorado, November 15-17, 2006, to discuss the progress of implementing section 365 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  This section of the Act established a Federal Permit Streamlining Pilot Project that addresses oil and gas development in the western states of Montana, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico.  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the lead Federal Agency and established an Memorandum of Understanding with several agencies; US Department of Interior, US Department of Agriculture, US Environmental Protection Agency and US Army Corps of Engineers to establish policies and procedures with the intent to improve the efficiency fo processing oil and gas use authorizations on Federal Lands.  Seven offices were designated as pilot offices including BLM offices in Rawlings and Buffalo Wyoming; Miles City, Montana; Farmington and Carlsbad, New Mexico; Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs, Colorado and Vernal Utah.  The pilot offices recruited many positions within the BLM and also stationed employees from other agencies that were funded through the Energy Policy Act.   

The meeting brought together agencies to discuss the accomplishments of  the various offices including the Fish and Wildlife Service.  Directors of the Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management were present and applauded the interagency cooperation.  Summaries were presented for each office.  Overall, the speed of authorizing development had greatly increaed over previous years.  Each office presented their approach and process that should aid other offices in maximizing productivity.  In addition to processing permits, activities that are required for work accomplishments were discussed including, recruitment, personnel issues, data bases, relationships, and best management practices for office work and on the ground actions.  As part of the workshop, there were also two listening sessions that were open to anyone that wanted to express their opinion concerning oil and gas development of Federal land.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov
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