The proposed action is to lease some or all of the oil, gas and geothermal resources at sites located in six selected areas within Churchill, Lyon, Mineral, and Nye County, Nevada. There are 30 proposed parcels for leasing in the upcoming September 2014 Oil and Gas Lease Sale, that cover an area of approximately 56,269 acres. The pending lease applications encompass BLM managed lands that are open to fluid mineral leasing.
Oil and gas exploration and production upon BLM managed land are conducted through leases with the BLM and are subject to terms and stipulations to comply with all applicable federal and state laws pertaining to various considerations for sanitation, water quality, wildlife, safety, and reclamation. Stipulations may be site specific and are derived from the environmental analysis process.
The proposed action is considered a federal action and a commitment to resource development so it requires NEPA analysis. While issuing a lease for oil and gas resources confers on the lessee the right to future exploration and development of these resources within the lease area, it does not confer the right to explore for or develop oil and gas resources if such activities would extend beyond the level of casual use. As a result, the proposed issuance of the lease would have no direct impacts.
Issuance of oil and gas leases could have indirect impacts because such leasing represents a commitment of resources, and it is reasonably expected that subsequent exploration, development, production, and closeout activities would occur. The EA therefore presents a broad scope analysis of the potential indirect and cumulative impacts from oil and gas leasing to determine whether these indirect impacts by the lessee could be significant.
Proposals for exploration and/or development at specific sites will be examined for conformance with the land use plan and analyzed for NEPA adequacy at the time the proposals are submitted. Any proposal for exploration and/or development must be analyzed as required by NEPA prior to the proposed action.