Fracking and National Forests in NC Plan Revision

Published Friday, July 11, 2014 at 12:57 pm

July 11, 2014. Some stakeholders have raised concerns about hydraulic fracturing and how it fits into revision of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests management plan.

It’s important for concerned citizens to know that revision of the management plan focuses on management practices not on specific budgets or allocations of budgets.

The potential for oil and gas exploration will be identified in the plan revision process in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management.

As described in the Notice of Intent To Revise The Land And Resource Management Plan (NOI)…

“No decision regarding oil and gas leasing availability will be made in the revised Forest Plan, though standards will be brought forward or developed that would serve as mitigations should an availability decision be necessary in the future.”

The entire NOI is posted at:

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/03/12/2014-05374/revision-of-land-management-plan-for-the-nantahala-and-pisgah-national-forests.

Here’s what the Executive Summary of the (plan revision) Assessment report says about oil and gas potential in WNC:

“The State is in process of assessing oil and gas potential in western North Carolina. In 2008, the Bureau of Land Management completed a 10-year forecast and did not predict any oil or gas wells, or surface disturbance.”

The Assessment document is posted at:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprd3793934.pdf

Public comments received as a part of scoping for Plan Revision include some comments on oil and gas and are posted at:

https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/ReadingRoom?Project=43545&SearchResultsPerPage=25

More generally, national forests are managed for a broad range of multiple uses, from wilderness protection to recreation to timber management and resource development. The Forest Service manages national forest mineral resources and BLM oversees other activities. The agencies also work with stakeholders and other members of the public to balance conservation and resource needs.

The Forest Service develops land use plans, with significant public input, that determine if and where leasing activities are appropriate. If interest in leasing exists and the land meets the leasing criteria in the Forest Plan, the Forest Service gives consent for leasing to the BLM. The BLM manages the leasing process and issues the lease. The two agencies work together to administer the lease once the lease is issued.

 

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