Letter: BLM needs to move on Divide | PostIndependent.com

Letter: BLM needs to move on Divide

Kelsey Kirkwood

As objections are being considered and reviewed for the Forest Service decision to protect lands from future oil and gas leasing, I am reminded of our goal and intention as a community for meaningful, long-term protection of the Thompson Divide.

The Forest Service has paved the way for future protection of a large portion of the Divide and White River National Forest. Objections or not, I ask the Forest Service to hold to its decision and I also ask the BLM to follow suit, stay the course and wrap up the NEPA assessment in the time frame they committed to.

The Thompson Divide, described as “Colorado’s Crown Jewel” by Gov. Hickenlooper, is one of the densest concentrations of inventoried roadless area in the West. With over 220,000 acres of pristine backcountry, the Divide is our playground, our backyard, our watershed and our livelihood. This unspoiled landscape could change quickly if the undeveloped, improperly issued leases are allowed to remain in place.

The BLM is currently conducting its own analysis to determine if the leases in the Divide should have been issued in the first place. I prompt the BLM to continue with the process, do not delay the findings of the assessment and stick to the time frame for release of results. Long-term protection of this precious landscape is critical for our community, economy and Western quality of life.

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