Senator Ken Salazar, Congressman John Salazar and gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter joined forces with voices from the environmental sector, landowners and business owners to ask that 20,000 acres in roadless areas be removed from Thursday’s gas lease sale. Gas leases on 179,951acres of federal land were on the auction block Thursday in White River, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, Gunnison and Manti La-Sal national forests in Western Colorado. About 50,000 of the acres up for auction were in Montrose County alone.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials did not indicate that they would retract any parcels from the sale.
The roadless task force, which had recently released their proposed recommendations Wednesday, also suggested that new roads should be banned and leases put on hold until the task force and Gov. Bill Owens make recommendations to the federal advisory committee and then to the agriculture secretary, who has the final say.