Press Release Oct 22, 2018

BLM Hits Pause on Leasing Nearly 150,000 Acres for Oil and Gas Development

The temporary lease deferrals in Colorado were a result of federal court orders but reflect a commonsense need to provide the public time to consider oil and gas leasing proposals on public lands.

 

Background: On Friday, the Colorado Bureau of Land Management (BLM) hit the pause on a lease sale of 148,797 acres of public lands for oil and gas development in northwest Colorado. Most of the lands were deferred from sale over the lack of adequate public comment, among other concerns.

More than 40 members of Congress sent a letter today to the BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs Brian Steed, urging the agency to involve the public in public lands decisions, and delay the December lease sale. Public lands in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah are currently up for sale in December, for oil and gas leasing.

Statement by Tracy Coppola, Colorado Program Manager for National Parks Conservation Association

“The Colorado BLM’s decision to hit the pause button on oil and gas leasing on lands that could harm our national parks reflects the will of many. Unfortunately, the future of these lands is at a crossroads. While we commend the BLM, along with elected officials, community leaders and national park supporters who called for protecting these treasured public lands, today’s deferral only kicks the leasing decision down the road.

“The temporary lease deferrals in Colorado were a result of federal court orders but reflect a commonsense need to provide the public time to consider oil and gas leasing proposals on public lands. Diminished public comment periods have forced taxpayers to use the courts to fight for a seat at the public lands management table that is rightfully theirs.

“This holds true in Colorado as well as New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah and throughout the west, which this administration has targeted with rapidly spreading energy plans that have largely sidestepped public engagement. In many states, taxpayers are further discouraged from having their voices heard by being forced to mail or fax in their comments versus using efficient and 21st century technology like email.

“National Parks Conservation Association is among those calling for our voices to be heard, as this administration prioritizes industry over diverse far-reaching community and conservation concerns.”

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About National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.