Week In Review: Loose Ends Neatly Tied Up

Note: Several gas and oil related stories and some articles about the Forest Service and BLM plans dealt with issues in “limbo” earlier this week. Interesting how the week can end with resolutions, resigns and compromises. Surface Rights Initiative won’t be on the state Nov. ballot.

Ballot measure to protect Grand Junction watershed garnered enough signed petitions by Wednesday to present to the GJ city council, but the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) went ahead and issued the oil and gas leases anyway to Genesis Oil on Thursday.

The draft management plan for the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests was delayed so it could be reviewed under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The GMUG forest supervisor said it’s not because they were trying to make more forest land available for natural gas leasing. It had to do about coal mines.

The Colorado Roadless Area Review Task Force released draft recommendations that could restrict road building on 4.4 million acres of national forest in Colorado. The group had planned on a July release, but needed more time to work on proposals on how roadless land should be managed in the state. One recommendation that will surely be contentious: Prohibiting road building on new oil and gas leases in designated roadless areas, but allowing temporary road building for existing leases. However, the roadless plan will not affect the sale of gas leases next week in some roadless areas in the state. Over a quarter of the roadless areas in the White River National Forest can be leased for gas drilling.

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Leslie Robinson

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