BLM Oil and Gas Leasing
The largest landowner in Park County is the federal government.
That includes the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Often, the BLM leases the land for development, such as oil and gas extraction.
In 2018, the BLM planned to auction off 63,496 acres of public and private lands in Montana to oil and gas companies on March 13th, 2018. Some of these leases are particularly troubling — they border the community of Livingston, the Yellowstone River, and would have been within in our viewshed of the iconic Livingston Peak.
Eventually, the leases were dropped after PCEC and local landowners filed an administrative appeal to protest the March 13, 2018 competitive oil and gas lease sale proposed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)’s Butte Field Office because these leases could open the door for the oil and gas industry to frack and drill on the edge of our community.
While that lease has been stopped, future development is always possible, and PCEC is keeping an eye on BLM oil and gas leasing. We are concerned about these leases because they initiate a process that could lead to oil and gas development on the edge of Livingston. We don’t think these parcels are appropriate places for development – not now, in 10 years, or ever. But to be clear, leasing does not green light exploration or development. If leases are purchased, the leasing company will have to apply for a permit for exploration. This is only the first step in a long process, but as the saying goes – the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
Photo by William Campbell Photography