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Research to Improve Access to Public Lands for Oil and Gas Operations Interagency Agreement
Project Number

The goal is to conduct research that will improve access to public lands for oil and gas exploration and development. 


Bureau of Land Management
Denver, CO


One of the biggest hurdles to increasing America's onshore oil and gas production is the welter of permitting roadblocks involving environmental issues on federal lands. A comprehensive research effort is needed to resolve some permitting issues in key oil and gas producing issues, especially in the Western states.

Research is continuing, and a number of final reports are expected before yearend.

Research under this program is expected to better BLM's performance with respect to oil and gas leasing, National Environmental Policy Act functions, and land management responsibilities. It also is expected to improve access to oil and gas resources, with responsible environmental protection, as part of the National Energy Plan.

The scope of work consists of the following tasks:

  • Develop a Model to Assess the Impacts of Coalbed Methane Development On Wildlife Habitat In the Powder River Basin, WY.
  • Oil and Gas/GIS Database and Analytical Programs, Wyoming State Office Reservoir Management Group.
  • Wyoming Mountain Plover Study.
  • Site Evaluation for Disposal of Coalbed Methane Produced Water.
  • Reducing Visual Impacts of Oil and Gas Development.
  • Developing a Web-Based Decision Support System for the Land Use Planning Procedures.
  • Soil Recovery Timeframes from Disturbance Resulting from Geophysical Exploration in Southeast Utah.
  • Oil and Gas Road Drainage Design Standards in Highly Erosive Soils in the Southwest.
  • Research projects still in progress or completed are shown in the accompanying table.
Current Status

(July 2005)
Most of the research will be completed by the end of 2005. A few projects were combined with other approved projects in order to provide a more comprehensive analysis.

This project was selected as part of an Interagency Agreement through a Memorandum of Understanding between DOE and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Federal Lands Technical Partnership.

Project Start
Project End
DOE Contribution


Performer Contribution

$350,000 (26% of total)

Other Government Organizations Involved
Alaska Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Argonne National Laboratory
Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology
New Mexico State University
University of Montana

Contact Information

NETL - John Ford ( or 918-699-2061)
BLM - Robert Fields ( or 303-236-0721)

Sage grouse hen at nest.
Sage grouse hen at nest.
Land application of CBM produced water  in the Powder River Basin, WY
Land application of CBM produced water in the Powder River Basin, WY


Additional Information

Road-Related Erosion Issues on Bureau of Land Management-Administered Lands in Northwestern New Mexico.

Ammonia Emission Inventory for the State of Wyoming.

Environmental Policy and Regulatory Constraints to Natural Gas Production.

Newspaper and magazine articles in the New York Times, Denver Post, Audubon Magazine, Casper Tribune, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), Land Letter (Washington, D.C.), Sage Sense, Wyoming Wildlife Magazine.