Senator Bingaman Urges Review of BLM's Use of Categorical Exclusions

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Bureau of Land Management uses "categorical exclusions" to approve oil and gas drilling when environmental impact analysis is not warranted. Under the Bush administration, categorical exclusions were often used when environmental impact analysis was necessary - in wilderness-quality lands, important habitat, and other areas with irreplaceable values on public lands. On March 31, 2010, the BLM settled a lawsuit to limit the use of categorical exclusions in the West to comply with the law, as repeatedly urged by Senator Bingaman. Below, find Senator Bingaman's letters to Interior Secretary Salazar and former Interior Secretary Kempthorne urging review of BLM's use of categorical exclusions.