BLM defers leasing on two Garfield County parcels
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The Bureau of Land Management said that it will defer 30 of 120 parcels of land available at its quarterly oil and gas lease sale on Feb. 12.
About 49,000 of 133,000 acres are being deferred, leaving about 84,000 acres in the remaining 90 parcels available at the sale, according to BLM spokesman David Boyd.
Two parcels in Garfield County accounting for 2,818 acres north of Rifle were included in the deferment. However, a 359-acre portion of one parcel is privately owned surface land and federally owned mineral rights, which will still be available for lease because the BLM doesn’t manage private lands.
The BLM decided to defer leases on these specific parcels because, according to Boyd, the BLM is considering different management options as the bureau revises its resource management plan that could affect stipulations in the lease agreements.
Leasing the land would preclude the BLM from changing the stipulations in the lease. And the area that contains the parcels is being looked at for wildlife inventory and wilderness characteristics, and the BLM is considering designating it an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), Boyd said.
“Since we want to look at some different management options there, given the potential for ACEC and the wilderness characteristic, we don’t want to lease it until we’ve gone through the whole analysis in our resource management plan because we could change the stipulations,” Boyd said. “If we leased it now, then the stipulations could not be changed.”
All leases come with stipulations or general requirements on oil and gas activities to protect the environment. Leases can also include specific restrictions, such as limits on seasons when drilling can occur and restrictions on surface occupancy by oil and gas operators.
Boyd said that it’s not uncommon for the BLM to defer parcels for this reason and that this deferment was not influenced by the 64 petitions from many environmental groups, including the Colorado Division of Wildlife, and individuals, protesting the leasing of the properties.
Protests were accepted until the end of business Wednesday providing a 60-day protest period and to allow BLM to review the protests before the lease sale.
Groups who filed lease sale protests Wednesday include the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, the National Wildlife Federation and many more. Most of the protests focused on parcels of land outside of Garfield County, according to Boyd. However, Boyd indicated that nearly each parcel was protested.
Contact John Gardner: 384-9114
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