by Aaron Johnson, Manager of Communications on July 27, 2016 - 8:45am
The costs to taxpayers of recent Keep-It-in-the-Ground protests in Colorado are beginning to surface. According to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) spent $2,500 on overtime pay for the Lakewood Police Department, which provided security as 300 protesters attempted to shut down the Colorado May lease sale. A lot of credit goes to the police for doing a superb job managing the unruly anti-fossil fuel activists screaming in their faces. There were no arrests made and the auction kicked off on time. In fact, BLM raised $5.2 million in revenue from six parcels of just under 7,000 acres.
The Alliance continues to advocate for BLM to conduct auctions online, which would go a long way toward preventing this type of circus atmosphere and save taxpayers money. Congress has already authorized online auctions in lieu of in-person sales. If protesters continue to disrupt lease sales, we strongly suggest BLM simply hold online auctions within the same quarter as the original sales. Online auctions also have added cost-savings benefits as venues and security personnel do not have to be enlisted to handle unruly crowds.
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