LETTER: The BLM needs to know the impacts of Thompson Divide leases | PostIndependent.com

LETTER: The BLM needs to know the impacts of Thompson Divide leases

I wanted to thank the BLM, and the fabulous citizens of Carbondale for coming out to the recent public meeting on 65 oil and gas leases the BLM is reviewing.

Last night’s meeting was an early step in the development of an EIS, or Environmental Impact Statement, by the BLM. This document is a decision-making tool for the agency to decide what to do with the 65 leases which are the subject of the EIS. The BLM will use the EIS to decide if it will do nothing and let the leases stand, void the leases, or implement some alternative action in between these two extremes that involves allowing the leases to stand and development to occur, within specific plans to mitigate the impacts. As you may expect the overwhelming opinion of those speaking at last night’s meeting was to choose to void the leases, and that sentiment is not going anywhere. That will continue to be the goal, and it is very important that we continue to remain clear on that.

It is also important to understand this process, and the purpose of the EIS, which is to help the BLM make their decision, and attempt to balance the needs of all involved. At this stage in the process the BLM is asking us to help them make sure they are aware of all of the potential impacts of the leases, and to offer possible solutions to those problems. An EIS evaluates environmental, wildlife, air and water quality impacts; economic impacts including ranching, recreation and other local businesses affected; social impacts; impacts to historical sites, and many others. Now is our opportunity to make sure the BLM knows all of the impacts of these leases, so they can evaluate each impact, and if they chose to allow the leases to continue, how they will plan to mitigate impacts to those interests. I urge you to educate yourself, draft comments, and participate in this democratic process.

Jody Powell


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