20,000 acres in North Fork area removed from sale
The Bureau of Land Management has announced it is delaying an auction for drilling leases in Colorado following a public outcry. Leases for more than 20,000 acres in the North Fork Valley were set to go on the block this month. But residents organized a campaign raising environmental concerns, including the impact of hydraulic fracturing on the quality of water and air.
The BLM released the following statement on the auction yesterday:
BLM to Offer Nearly 90,000 Acres at February Colorado Oil and Gas Lease Sale BLM Defers North Fork Valley Parcels from Sale (02-06-13)
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced that it will offer 151 parcels totaling 88,578 acres for oil and gas development at its February 14, 2013, lease sale. In response to extensive public comments, the agency will defer all 20 parcels totaling 20,555 acres in the North Fork Valley from the sale.
“We’ve listened to concerns raised in numerous comments and public meetings and we are responding by deferring the North Fork Valley parcels at this time,” said Colorado State Director Helen Hankins. “We are addressing the deferred parcels through continued dialogue with the local community and with ongoing planning efforts in the Uncompahgre Field Office.”
Federal oil and gas parcels offered for lease are nominated by oil and gas companies and then reviewed by the BLM to determine the appropriateness of potential development. Approved parcels are offered at one of the BLM’s quarterly sales, which are required by law.
“This decision is consistent with our reform efforts that emphasize a comprehensive approach to oil and gas leasing so as to ensure that energy development occurs in the appropriate places,” said Acting BLM Director Mike Pool. “I want to thank Helen Hankins for her leadership and efforts to work closely with local communities as this moves forward.”