In an early morning press release today, the BLM announced they will defer all 20 parcels totaling 20,555 acres in the North Fork Valley from the February 14th lease sale. Last week Citizens for a Healthy Community announced they were prepared to file a lawsuit if the parcels were included in 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,” Helen Hankins, director of the BLM’s Colorado office, said in a statement. “We are addressing the deferred parcels through continued dialogue with the local community and with ongoing planning efforts in the Uncompahgre Field Office.”
“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.”
The BLM will proceed with offering 151 parcels totaling 88,578 acres at its February 14 lease sale.
On their website, Citizens for a Healthy Community called the BLM announcement “a tremendous victory for the community in the North Fork Valley! Thank you to everyone who wrote letters to the BLM, our U.S. Senators, Rep. Tipton, and other elected officials asking them to make the right decision and removed the parcels from the sale.” CHC pledges to keep the pressure on the BLM to make sure the North Fork parcels are not put up for leasing again.
In an email today WCC Director Frank Smith reminds us: “The BLM decision, however, may be a partial or temporary victory. Unless additional BLM and/or congressional action occurs, oil & gas could be proposed again in the special valley. WCC looks to encourage lawmakers and BLM to create additional protections for the North Fork Valley, its residents, wildlife and farms.”
If Interested, Consider Saying ‘Thanks':
1.) Helen Hankins, State Director
Bureau of Land Management
Colorado State Office
2850 Youngfield Street
Lakewood, CO 80215
2.) Mike Poole, Acting BLM Director
1849 C Street NW, Rm. 5665
Washington DC 20240
4.) State Legislators Senator Gail Schwartz ( firstname.lastname@example.org) and Representative Millie Hamner (email@example.com) for being attentive to local concerns.