MEEKER, Colorado - The Bureau of Land Management has extended the public comment deadline for its draft White River Field Office Oil and Gas Resource Management Plan Amendment an additional 45 days, to Jan. 28, 2013.
In August, the BLM released for public review and comment a draft plan outlining multiple alternatives for managing the expected increase in oil and natural gas development on the 1.7 million acres of federal mineral resources it manages on the Piceance Basin in Rio Blanco County, southern Moffat County, and a small part of northern Garfield County.
"Public involvement is a key part of this process, and we have received a number of requests for additional time to review this draft," said Kent Walter, field manager for the BLM's White River Field Office. "This additional 45 days will extend the amount of time the draft will be available for public review and comment to 160 days."
The BLM is also hosting an open house meeting from 5-7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 3, at the White River Field Office in Meeker, 220 E. Market St., to discuss wildlife protections proposed in this draft.
"We have proposed incentive-based protections to minimize impacts from oil and gas development to wildlife," Walter said.
Written comments will be accepted at the open house as well.
BLM released the draft plan for public review Aug. 22. Four public open house meetings about the draft plan were held in September in Meeker, Rangely, Silt and Grand Junction.
The majority of acreage within the White River Field Office is already leased for oil and gas development. This plan proposes mitigation measures, including an incentive-based approach that recognizes the valid existing rights of leaseholders while minimizing impacts to wildlife and other sensitive resources.
The Draft Plan projects as much as 878 million cubic feet of natural gas could be produced annually, resulting in as many as 8,000 new jobs being created in the region.
Copies of the draft and information about how to comment are available at: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/wrfo.html.