Colorado Groups Reject BLM Energy-Exploration Plan

Tuesday, 18 Oct 2011 11:13 AM

By Greg McDonald

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A federal oil and gas exploration plan that was redrawn under the Obama administration is drawing criticism from just about all quarters in Colorado, according to a report Tuesday in the Denver Post.
 
Under the plan drawn up by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), 90 percent of the Little Snake Area in Colorado will be opened this week to drilling but will still keep oil and gas exploration off of sage grouse breeding grounds, the Vermillion Basin canyon lands, and a 22-mile stretch of the Yampa River.
 
Bureau spokesman Steven Hall acknowledged that the plan, which seeks to balance energy exploration with protecting wildlife habitat, is under fire, saying, “You’ll never have a BLM plan that is loved by everyone.”
 
But the bureau was unable to get conservationists, energy industry officials, or landowners to reach a consensus on an acceptable alternative to a plan that was originally drawn up by the administration of President George W. Bush.
 
Conservationists say the plan would still have an adverse impact on sensitive wildlife areas; nearby landowners complain it doesn’t protect their property from drilling and exploration teams trying to access the federal lands; and industry officials insist that new regulations place too many limits on where they can drill.
 
“It’s unfortunate that BLM was directed by Washington to ignore a balanced community plan, lock away American energy resources, and prevent jobs and economic growth,” Western Energy Alliance spokeswoman Kathleen Sgamma told the Post.

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