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Natural gas demand in the United States is projected to increase by 50 percent over the next 25 years, and most of this demand is projected to be met by increasing domestic production. Much of the nation's future natural gas supply is located on federal lands in the intermountain west. Consequently, demands on federal land managers to open western lands for energy exploration and development are increasing rapidly. This report presents a new approach to assessing natural gas and oil resources that is intended to help federal land managers with strategic land use planning by expanding the scope of these assessments to include economic and environmental considerations. This approach provides a robust understanding of energy resource characteristics by accounting for the economics associated with production and by moving some of the environmental characterization steps upstream in the decisionmaking process. This will allow land managers to better distinguish energy resources in different areas and therefore help prioritize areas for consideration for energy resource development. The approach is demonstrated for the Greater Green River Basin in Southwestern Wyoming, which is estimated to contain about 9 percent of the nation's future natural gas supply.

Table of Contents

  • Summary

  • Preface

    All Prefatory Materials

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Allocation and Spatial Distribution of Resources

  • Chapter Three

    Economic Analysis

  • Chapter Four

    Environmental Measures

  • Chapter Five

    Conclusions

  • Appendix

  • Supplemental

    Supplementary Materials

  • Bibliography

  • Maps

The research described in this report was conducted by RAND Science and Technology for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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