White River National Forest
Alliance – WSCOGA – PLA File Objection to Leasing Plan
Western Energy Alliance, West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association (WSCOGA) and Public Lands Advocacy filed a formal objection to the U.S. Forest Service’s draft decision on the White River National Forest Oil and Gas Leasing Plan that closes the entire Thompson Divide Area to future oil and natural gas leasing. The plan, marred by political interference and superficial analysis, fails to successfully balance responsible energy development with conservation and ignores the broad economic needs of all local communities, not just favored segments of society.
The plan, announced on December 9th, is based on the flawed presumption that oil and natural gas development is incompatible with agriculture, recreation, outfitting, wildlife and protection of other natural resources by ignoring nearly 60 years of oil and natural gas history in the area that proves otherwise. While failing to analyze the actual oil and natural gas potential in the area, particularly of the Mancos and Niobrara formations, the Forest Service blithely removes nearly 1.3 million acres from oil and natural gas leasing and imposes blanket No Surface Occupancy (NSO), the most severe restriction, on most of the little that remains available for leasing.
The three groups are calling on the Forest Service to withdraw the plan and complete the comprehensive analysis required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).