ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Many government agencies have closed their doors under the federal shutdown, but at the Bureau of Land Management, it’s business as usual, at least for the oil and gas industry.
In Santa Fe, the BLM continues to prepare for two upcoming lease sales in March and June, and the agency is apparently still processing drilling applications for individual companies.
But environmental organizations say they’re locked out of the process, since the BLM has not publicly released information about what it’s doing, nor responded to inquiries.
“We don’t know what’s happening,” Ernie Atencio, New Mexico senior program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association, said on Friday. “Today is supposed to be the start of a 10-day protest period for the March lease sale, and we don’t even know if it’s going forward…They’re not being transparent or accountable to the public about what’s going on.”