Master Leasing Plans
Oil and gas development on federal lands affects us all. Yet decision-making about where to drill typically excludes diverse stakeholders, including Latino communities. As a result, our access to these lands for recreation, subsistence, education, and traditional cultural uses are impeded.
HECHO advocates for the Bureau of Land Management to implement “smart from the start” planning, also known as Master Leasing Plans (MLPs), to allow input from multiple stakeholders about how public lands should be used. MLP’s allow for a variety of issues to be considered, including: hunting and angling, farming and ranching, cultural resource protection, conservation, recreation, property ownership, local government, and oil and gas development.
Currently Latino voices are missing from these planning conversations. We should be engaged, given the value of these western lands and waters to our communities and our way of life. “Smart from the start” land management planning directs development to areas of least conflict, and protects important resources, such as air, water, wildlife habitat, tourism and recreation-related economic opportunities.
While we all use oil and gas, we assert that some places are too sacred and fragile to be destroyed by development. These are lands we have enjoyed for centuries and want to protect for future generations.
Current examples of MLPs:
South Park, Colorado
The BLM is working on an MLP for the South Park Basin. Located west of the Denver metro area, South Park contains the headwaters of the South Platte River and multiple reservoirs that provide water to millions of people. The South Park Basin is also known for its prized hunting, fishing and wide open ranchlands.
Dinosaur Trail, CO
Bordering the southern edge of Dinosaur National Monument, Dinosaur Trail is a landscape filled with big game and scenic canyons and valleys, which are popular destinations for hunting and camping. The BLM recently proposed an MLP for Dinosaur Trail, with the goal of avoiding future conflicts between these values and oil and gas development.
The BLM will issue a draft MLP for the Moab area covering about 1 million acres. Moab’s economy has changed dramatically over the years, shifting from a reliance on mining and drilling to a more sustained and reliable tourism and recreation economy. The BLM issued preliminary draft options for the Moab MLP that was widely applauded by both local and national businesses.
Greater Little Mountain, WY
Greater Little Mountain is one of Wyoming’s most popular hunting and fishing destinations, and contains important habitat for a variety of big game and Colorado River cutthroat trout. In response to recent leasing proposals and ongoing interest in developing, a broad coalition of sportsmen and labor groups has called on the BLM to prepare an MLP for Greater Little Mountain, which the BLM has agreed to do as part of a revision to the Rock Springs Field Office’s resource management plan.