Federal Land Status in the Overthrust Belt of Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming.
The overthrust belt in portions of Montana, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming is one of the few remaining oil and gas frontiers on the North American continent. Determination of the oil and gas potential and development of mineral resources of the area have been affected by a variety of land withdrawals and other restrictions. The purpose of this study is to determine the extent of these withdrawals and restrictions and to discuss the mineral resource potential within the study area. Statistics in this report refer to land status on January 1, 1979. At that time, of the 27.3 million acres of federal mineral lands within the study area, applications for federal oil and gas leases for more than 4.4 million acres (about 16 percent) were pending; the average length of time was 2 years. Federal oil and gas leases covering 8.8 million acres were also on record. As of January 1, 1979, special restrictions ranging from complete prohibition of mineral development to restrictions having slight effect on mineral development, were in effect for 18.2 million acres (67 percent of the federal mineral estate, or 39 percent of the entire study area). Restricted lands include wilderness areas, proposed wilderness areas, rare II lands, BLM roadless areas, and national parks. Also included are restrictions imposed by management policy for protection of key wildlife habitat, recreation or scenic values, watershed, and research uses. The report contains 14 over-size maps.