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West-wide Energy Corridor Information Center

This website is the online center for public information for the designated Section 368 Energy Corridors.

Announcements
West-Wide Energy Corridor Guidebook Released

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released the West-Wide Energy Corridor Guidebook. The Guidebook describes the BLMs policies, requirements, and best practices for authorizing and developing oil, gas, and hydrogen pipelines and electricity transmission and distribution projects within Section 368 energy corridors. The Guidebook serves as a clearinghouse for information about:

  • Management requirements of processing right-of-way (ROW) applications within the Section 368 energy corridors;
  • Interagency operating procedures (IOPs) that may be revised, deleted, or added through subsequent agency collaboration, environmental review, and decision-making;
  • The BLM's process, requirements, and advantages of applying for ROWs and developing energy projects within Section 368 energy corridors.

Section 368 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (the Act), Public Law 109-58 (H.R. 6), enacted August 8, 2005, directed the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, and the Interior to designate under their respective authorities corridors on federal land in 11 Western States (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming) for oil, gas, and hydrogen pipelines and electricity transmission and distribution facilities (energy corridors).

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) on November 16, 2007 and a Final PEIS on November 20, 2008 that evaluated issues associated with the designation of energy corridors on federal lands in eleven Western states. The PEIS identified potential corridors; evaluated effects of potential future development within designated corridors; identified mitigation measures for such effects; and developed Interagency Operating Procedures (IOPs) applicable to planning, construction, operation, and decommissioning of future projects within the corridors.

Based upon the information and analyses developed in the PEIS, the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture signed Records of Decision (RODs) in 2009 designating Section 368 energy corridors by amending land and resource management plans on lands administered by their respective agencies in the eleven Western states.

The designation of energy transport corridors in land and resource management plans identified the preferred locations for development of energy transport projects on lands administered by the USFS and BLM. These locations were selected to avoid significant known resource and environmental conflicts, promote renewable energy development in the West, improve reliability, relieve congestion, and enhance the capability of the national grid to deliver electricity.

The IOPs are intended to expedite the permitting process; provide coordinated, consistent interagency management procedures for permitting rights of way (ROWs) within the corridors; and identify mandatory requirements for future projects.

The evaluation of future project-related environmental impacts must await site-specific proposals and the required site-specific environmental review. A quantifiable and accurate evaluation of impacts at the local project level can be made only in response to an actual proposed energy project, when a proposal for an action with specific environmental consequences exists.

Settlement Agreement

In July 2009, the Wilderness Society, BARK, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, National Parks Conservation Association, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oregon Natural Desert Association, Sierra Club, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Western Resource Advocates, Western Watersheds Project, and County of San Miguel, Colorado (Plaintiffs) filed a complaint against the Agencies challenging the PEIS, DOI and USFS RODs, and associated Section 368 energy corridor designations (Wilderness Society, et al. v. United States Department of the Interior, et al., No. 3:09-cv-03048-JW [N.D. Cal.]) pursuant to the Energy Policy Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. In July 2012, the BLM, USFS, Department of Energy (DOE), and the Department of Justice entered into a Settlement Agreement with the Plaintiffs that contains specific actions to resolve the challenges in the Complaint.

The four principal components of the Settlement Agreement require the Agencies to:

  1. Complete an interagency Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) addressing periodic corridor reviews;
  2. Update agency guidance;
  3. Update agency training; and
  4. Complete a corridor study.

The Settlement Agreement also identifies specific Section 368 "corridors of concern." For more information about the Settlement Agreement, including timeline, documents, implementation of periodic reviews, agency guidance and training, and the corridor study, see the Settlement Agreement page.

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Stakeholder Input
To facilitate stakeholder engagement during the Regional Reviews, the BLM and USFS have developed an online input form

Regions for Review of Section 368 Energy Corridors



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