BLM puts August North Fork gas lease sale on hold

“This is a great day…”

A sale of 22 oil and gas leases totaling some 30,000 acres in the North Fork Valley, which had been proposed for August, has been postponed until The Bureau of Land Management is able to conduct a deeper analysis of the impacts development would have on the area.

 

 

The BLM announced Wednesday, May 2, it would be deferring sales of “all parcels associated with the August 2012 oil and gas lease sale in the North Fork Valley.” 
 The Environmental Assessment (EA) evaluated 22 proposed oil and gas parcels near Paonia, Hotchkiss and Somerset for the August 9, 2012, quarterly oil and gas lease sale and originally recommended leasing 21 of the 22 parcels.
The decision to defer the sale was made by the BLM’s state director Helen Hankins after the Uncompahgre Field Office released a draft E.A. and Finding of No Significant Impact in March. That nearly paved the way for the sale to go forward, despite an outpouring of public concern.
High Country Citizens’ Alliance public lands director Matt Reed, who had been involved in the public campaign urging caution in going forward with the sale, said, “I can say it’s been an unprecedented level of opposition from a diverse group of folks, including people traveling all the way to DC to oppose the sale.”
“This is a great day for the lands, waters, wildlife and farms and ranches of the North Fork Valley,” Reed said. “Opening up 30,000 acres to industrial oil and gas development without proper analysis or environmental protections could have been disastrous for the North Fork.”
The BLM has not indicated for how long the lease sale will be deferred.

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