The Bureau of Land Management's Casper Field Office will reanalyze a portion of its environmental assessment of the Sand Creek oil and gas project after challenges from two environmental groups. It agreed with the Western Watersheds Project (WWP) and Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) that additional analysis of greenhouse gas emissions was warranted.
The 160-well project in Converse County, led by EOG Resources, was initially given a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) from the Casper office. In its reversal, the office pointed to recent court decisions that have mandated review of climate impacts from federal oil and gas projects.
Michael Saul, Senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said the decision from the BLM is significant. "The agency itself is acknowledging the message of all of these court decisions and saying, 'Yes, we need to start acknowledging climate change in our decisions without having to be ordered to do so by a judge,'" Saul said.
Until the supplementary analysis is complete, the state BLM office put a halt to any new decisions from the Casper Field that would create greenhouse gas emissions within the Sand Creek Project area. Based on data provided by WWP and CBD, the project at full development would create emissions equal to one percent of the total stemming from federal oil and gas projects.