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Sale of oil and gas leases on the table


Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Local offices of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management are considering the sale of oil and gas leases on more than 88,500 acres in Chaves, Eddy and Lea counties this fall, according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The agency is proposing to sell leases on 18 parcels totaling about 8,813 acres in Chaves County, parcels handled by the Roswell office of the BLM, and more than 179 parcels in Eddy and Lea counties totaling about 79,709 acres. The Carlsbad BLM office handles those counties.

Before determining whether to proceed with the Sept. 6 sale, the bureau is holding a public scoping period that began Monday and will conclude April 20.

As required by federal law, the scoping process is intended to solicit public input about cultural, economic and environmental concerns related to the leases, the bureau said in a news release.

A proposed lease sale earlier this year involving 25 parcels and 4,434 acres in Rio Arriba, Sandoval and San Juan counties has been postponed pending further study after various groups questioned the impact oil and gas activities could have on land in and near the Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

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People wanting to comment on the proposed southeastern New Mexico lease sale can submit comments via the BLM website, blm.gov. All comments, including contact information of submitters, is subject to public release.

Federal law requires the BLM to allow for exploration and development of minerals on its land. The bureau awards oil and gas leases for a minimum period of 10 years, a term that can be extended as long as profitable-level of production quantities are available. The revenue from the sale of federal leases, as well as the 12.5 percent royalties collected from the production of those leases, is shared between the federal government and the states where the leasing and production occurs, the BLM website indicates.

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