BLM Colorado’s Resource Management Plans Based on Outdated Science, Ignores Increased Energy Potential
DENVER – A coalition of oil and natural gas trade associations today pushed back on proposed public lands management proposals by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that will significantly reduce potential development of oil and natural gas on the West Slope of Colorado. Western Energy Alliance, West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association (WSCOGA), and Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA) submitted a joint public comment letter to BLM highlighting multiple flaws with the agency’s analysis. The associations noted the use of outdated science from 20 years ago, the failure to recognize technological advances that reduce oil and natural gas’ footprint on the land.
The coalition responded to BLM’s Draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Colorado River Valley Field Office (CRVFO) and Grand Junction Field Office (GJFO). The agency announced the pair of proposals in August in response to the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado’s decision in 2018 in the case Wilderness Workshop v. BLM.
“BLM is required by law to use the best available science when making public lands management decisions. Instead of using the 2016 analysis by the U.S. Geological Survey that tripled the natural gas reserves on the West Slope, BLM is relying on data from nearly a generation ago in order to justify its preferred outcome. To be consistent with BLM’s multiple-use mandate, it should not close off 1,566,300 acres of land to oil and natural gas leasing,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Alliance. “Also important is the issue of the nine additional ACECs. Eight years ago BLM approved RMPs under the Obama Administration that did not include these nine ACECs. It was an acknowledgement that we can balance environmental protection with energy development. Today the science shows greater potential exists for resource development, and BLM must follow the law, which is why we strongly recommend the agency remove these heavy restrictions.”
“The hardworking women and men in western Colorado’s oil and natural gas industry are proud to produce reliable, affordable and safe natural gas and oil for our neighbors, Americans and allies. Critical for the BLM to consider are the taxes and revenues paid by our industry to fund important rural fire protection districts, library districts, rural schools, tourism projects and much more,” said Chelsie Miera, executive director of West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association. “As a primary employer, creating two or three jobs in the economy for every job in our industry, we’re thankful to contribute to a diversified economy for western Colorado. BLM’s alternative presented a false choice that either recreation or oil and gas are mutually exclusive on public lands and western slope has shown we can utilize our public lands with all multiple uses thriving together for the betterment of our communities.”
“Colorado produces among the cleanest molecules of oil and gas in the world. Instead of prioritizing our state’s cleaner, safer, and more efficient approach, the BLM’s proposal misrepresents the potential opportunities for development across the West Slope. Less supply could lead to higher energy prices which will burden consumers nationwide,” said Dan Haley, president and chief executive officer of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association. “Fostering local development is in the best interest of American consumers, particularly at a time of historic low levels in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and instability across the Middle East. We need to produce our energy here in Colorado.”
For more information, please see the coalition’s public comment letter to BLM.
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