Congressmen John Salazar and Mark Udall are working together to delay oil and gas development on the Roan Plateau, a unique area of wildlife and fauna west of Rifle. They have asked a congressional appropriations subcommittee to cut the funding for leasing expenses from the Bureau of Land Management budget that would prevent drilling activities for at least a year.“We are responding to the local communities of Rifle, Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and others that have asked that any drilling on the Roan Plateau be put on hold until the BLM responds to public comments about the impacts of drilling in the sensitive areas on the Roan,” explained Salazar in a press conference today.
“The livelihood of many residents depends on the health of the elk and deer herds that range in the Roan Plateau area and its tourism value must be protected,” Udall added. “When oil and gas development is long gone, these locals will need to rely on the economic value of the Roan as they have for generations past.”
At one time, there was a proposal to postpone drilling on the Roan until 80% of the wells in the valley were completed, but the BLM rejected that plan. Hundreds of comments supporting the deterrence of any oil and gas development were received by the BLM, but again, it chose to ignore them and instead offered an alternative to allow one operator to conduct all development activities on behalf of all other lease holders.
As noted in a previous Colorado Confidential Roan Plateau article, there were problems with that BLM proposal:
-Drilling would continue for at least 20 years
-Only about 21,000 acres out of almost 75,000 would be protected
-Almost 50% of the land could have surface occupancy from well development
-Cluster wells on multi-well pads would be as close as a