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BLM evaluates oil and gas leases for Garfield and other counties

On Wednesday, the Bureau of Land Management releases environmental assessments evaluating 28 parcels totaling approximately 26,500 acres in Garfield, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties to offer in its June 12, 2014, oil and gas lease sale.

After a preliminary evaluation of these areas, the BLM decided not to offer a number of parcels or portions of parcels for various resource concerns, including greater sage grouse habitat. About 45 parcels totaling approximately 65,160 acres in Garfield, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties were initially evaluated for this lease sale, according to the agency.

BLM initially considered five parcels totaling 7,720 acres in northeast Garfield County near Douglas Pass, said agency spokesman David Boyd. Officials decided to defer two of those parcels and parts of two others, however, settling on lease proposals totaling 1,240 acres on three parcels in Garfield County.

“The lands we deferred [in Garfield County] have been identified as lands with wilderness character,” he said. “The White River Field Office is currently working on an oil and gas amendment to their land use plan that will include decisions regarding leasing in lands with wilderness character. We are deferring until the decision on their amendment is final, which is currently anticipated in late 2014. Depending on that decision, they could be leased in the future.”

Boyd said it is not unusual for parcels to be deferred during this process.

Beginning Wednesday, the EA, maps, a list of proposed parcels with attached stipulations, and information about providing comments will be available at: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/wrfo.html. For more information call the White River Field Office, (970) 878-3800.

The BLM Kremmling Field Office is evaluating five parcels totaling approximately 2,560 acres in Jackson County. More information is available at: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/kfo.html. For more information, call the Kremmling Field Office, (970) 724-3000. Kremmling initially evaluated 34 parcels totaling approximately 39,900 acres.

Written comments about these EAs must be received by Dec. 30.

For additional information about the June 12, 2014 Oil and Gas Lease Sale, visit: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/BLM_Programs/oilandgas/oil_and_gas_lease/2014/may_2014_lease_sale.html.

The State of Colorado receives 49 percent of the proceeds of each lease sale. In fiscal year 2013, Colorado received more than $130 million from royalties, rentals and bonus bid payments for all federal minerals, including oil and gas. Statewide, there are more than 22,900 jobs tied to mineral and energy development on public lands, according to the BLM.

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