Interior approves BLM's Montana CBM supplemental EIS

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 31 -- A final supplement to the Montana statewide oil and gas environmental impact statement won final approval Dec. 30 at the US Department of the Interior's headquarters, the US Bureau of Land Management said.

BLM said C. Stephen Allred, assistant US Interior secretary for land and minerals management, signed the record of decision on the final supplemental EIS, which also included a proposed amendment to the Powder River and Billings resource management plans.

BLM said the plan addresses management of coalbed methane development on public land that the DOI agency administers in 13 Montana counties. It uses an adaptive management approach with phased development while limiting impacts to environmental and cultural resources, the agency's Montana state office said.

"We've worked long and hard with our cooperators, partners, and a number of interest groups to develop a plan that embraces adaptive management for coalbed natural gas development in the Montana Powder River basin. The signing of the record of decision is an important step forward for implementation," said Elaine Raper, manager of BLM's field office in Miles City, Mont.

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