Long-Awaited Announcement Opens 216,000 Acres
North Dakota's Congressional delegation issued a joint statement this week praising a decision by the US Forest Service that will permit additional oil and gas leasing on land within the Little Missouri National Grassland.
The Record of Decision opens the door for potential oil and gas production on 216,300 acres where the federal surfaces overlays federally-managed oil and gas resources. The leasing responsibility is shared by the National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. The decision doesn't approve any immediate activity on the land. If lands are leased, the proposed exploration and development actions will require additional site-specific environmental analysis and decision making.
The tract in question were part of the original leasing availability decision issued in 2002 in the Dakota Prairie Grasslands Land and Resource Management Plan. A supplemental Environmental Impact Statement issued earlier this year addressed the changed surface footprint of oil and gas development since that decision, and the advent of horizontal drilling in the Bakken in 2007. The EIS noted "that oil and gas leasing of the specific lands...is consistent with the (Grasslands) land and resource management plan."