Protests Mount Against Gas Leasing in Roadless Areas

Landowners, outfitters and conservation groups have combined their efforts to file a protest with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on the oil and gas leasing of 20,000 roadless acres in the Grand Mesa-Uncompahgre-Gunnison, White River and Manti-La Sal national forests, according to a Denver Post story today. Included in the sale is 4,400 acres in the Mamm Peak roadless area, south of Battlement Mesa.The gas leases will be auctioned on Aug. 10th.  BLM officials have said energy development in certain roadless areas is warranted.

Groups filing the protest, according to an Aspen Times Daily story, also include outdoor gear manufacturer Black Diamond Equipment, the Outdoor Industry Association, the National Resources Defense Council and the National Wildlife Federation.

Gunnison County is filing a separate protest, and a group of Montrose County landowners near Montrose are protesting leases on private lands.

A Glenwood Springs based group is collecting signatures on a proposed ballot initiative to reimburse surface rights owners for damage due to drilling.