BLM sells leases next to Garfield Creek Wildlife Area south of New Castle
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
NEW CASTLE, Colorado ” The Bureau of Land Management sold a 448-acre lease parcel that is adjacent to the Garfield Creek State Wildlife Area in some locations, during a lease sale Thursday.
The sale of the lease near the wildlife habitat comes as the Colorado Division of Wildlife is working with Denver-based Orion Energy Partners and Dejour Energy USA about their plans to drill in the state wildlife area, which is south of New Castle.
Those two companies have proposed placing multiple well pads in the habitat, which the DOW uses as winter range for elk and deer to keep area wildlife off of Interstate 70.
“The area is important wintering habitat for deer and elk, and we are committed to doing everything we can to minimize disturbance to the wildlife in and around the Garfield Creek State Wildlife Area,” said Randy Hampton, a spokesman for the DOW.
The 448-acre parcel drew about $4.8 million, or $10,600 per acre, the highest bidding out of the 30 leases that were sold during the BLM’s Thursday lease sale. All the leases sold for a collective $5.9 million, according to the BLM. At least $2.89 million of that money will be returned to Colorado.
Steven Hall, a spokesman for the BLM, said there are two 40-acre blocks within the 448-acre parcel that are adjacent to the state wildlife area’s eastern boundary. Another 40-acre block is on the eastern edge of the habitat, but it is not contiguous with the habitat.
The 448-acre lease parcel the BLM sold also has another 328-acre block that is on the western side of the Garfield Creek State Wildlife Area. However, it is about a half-mile away from the habitat, Hall said.
No-surface-occupancy stipulations cover most of the four blocks of the 448-acre parcel. That stipulation means oil and gas companies have to extract natural gas from other areas to minimize surface disturbances.
Areas of the 448-acre parcel also contain a “controlled surface-use” stipulation, which gives the BLM the authority to direct where a well pad may be placed.
Hall said Denver-based Baseline Minerals bought the parcel. Many businesses often purchase mineral leases on behalf of oil and gas companies, which may eventually develop the lease.
Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117
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