BLM to Open Up a Pristine Agricultural Area to Drilling
Special to the Post | 12/18/12

 Opposition is growing to a Bureau of Land Management plan to open up a pristine agricultural and natural area in Colorado to drilling, over local objections. If approved, the move would symbolize the irresponsible leasing trend sweeping the West, which jeopardizes existing economic drivers and sacrifices pristine wilderness.

On the last day for public protest of these new drilling leases, The Center for Western Priorities released a comparison of Colorado BLM’s decision to proceed with the North Fork Valley lease sale, with the planned Continental Divide – Creston (C-DC) drilling project in Wyoming. Unlike the Colorado leases, the Wyoming project represents a balanced, considered approach to drilling on public lands.

CWP’s side-by-side, the first in a planned series, describes both projects, and offers a point-by-point analysis of how C-DC reflects smart planning and Colorado BLM Director Helen Hankins’ North Fork lease sale is wrongheaded.

Read CWP’s side-by-side comparison of drilling projects.

“Our nation needs a smart, surgical energy process to develop energy on Western lands,” said Greg Zimmerman, policy director at the Center for Western Priorities. “The current leasing process is out of balance. It is possible to balance energy development with responsible land use practices, and we have the examples to prove it.”

The C-DC project in southern Wyoming opens over a million acres of previously drilled, industrialized public land to drilling. Conversely, the leases the Colorado BLM plans to sell in February are in the heavily agricultural and tourism-based North Fork Valley and immediately outside the southern entrance to Dinosaur National Monument. The Wyoming project demonstrates smart use of public lands for energy production, while the Colorado lease sale is an example of imbalanced public land use that threatens communities and local businesses.

The Center for Western Priorities is a nonpartisan engagement center that advances responsible conservation and energy practices in the West. The Center serves as a source of accurate information, promotes responsible policies and practices, and ensures accountability at all levels to protect land, water, and communities in the American West.


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