The Biden administration proposed a plan to lock up nearly 1.6 million acres of public lands from oil and gas development across western Colorado.
Feds Propose to Decrease 600 Oil Wells In Colorado
The Bureau of Land Management proposed Thursday removing more than a million acres of public lands in Colorado from future oil and gas leasing,
They will also be designating tens of thousands of acres of new protected areas in the western part of the state as part of an effort to resolve a series of legal challenges from environmental groups.
The proposal is part of a wider initiative of the federal government to settle litigation with environmentalist groups who have pursued legal challenges against the government’s land use policies, according to E&E News.
If finalized, the proposal could decrease the estimated number of oil wells in the affected lands by 600 over the next two decades, according to E&E News.
In a draft supplemental environmental impact statement announced Thursday, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued so-called resource management plans for its Grand Junction Field Office and Colorado River Valley field offices which oversee mineral leasing in the area.
The proposal would restrict the two offices to leasing just 239,000 acres and 143,000 acres for fossil fuel production, a total reduction of about 80%.
“Public participation is key to the development of Resource Management Plans,” BLM Upper Colorado River District Manager Greg Larson said in a statement. “This new analysis will ensure the BLM’s management of these areas will best serve our multiple use mission for the future.”
Colorado is responsible for 4 percent of U.S. domestic crude oil production, making it the fifth-largest crude oil-producing state in the country.
Goes To The Highest Bidder
BLM’s proposal follows the Biden administration’s decision to settle a legal dispute with activists who had contested the approval of offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
Earlier this year, the US auctioned off 1.6 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico, a fraction of some 73.3 million acres of federal waters the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) opened up for bidding.
President Joe Biden campaigned on a promise to end drilling projects on federal lands. Biden also delivered a “guarantee” as a candidate that his administration would “end fossil fuels.”
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