Governor Bill Ritter’s office may have an extra 120 days to comment on the oil and gas drilling plan atop the Roan Plateau, a special natural area west of Rifle, but the public comment period closes on Friday, Aug. 10th.
Click headline and learn more….Environmental groups claim the BLM has discouraged public remarks by refusing to accept e-mailed correspondence. Only about 100 letters have been received compared to the over 75,000 e-mails sent during the first comment period, a BLM official noted.
Although the BLM approved drilling on more than 50,000 acres on top of the plateau, it held off on the management plan of the 21,000 acres identified as “areas of critical environmental concern” (ACEC) responding to protests that the agency did not detail its plans for development in those areas.
On the website, Saveroanplateau.org organizers noted why ACEC areas of the Roan Plateau should be set aside from oil and gas development:
These areas are the Roan’s most sensitive places: habitat for genetically pure Colorado River cutthroat trout, home to rare plants, and critical range for deer and other wildlife. Most of these lands were found by the BLM to have all the features which would qualify them for wilderness designation, although the agency has refused to consider following through by providing appropriate protections for the land’s wilderness character.
If you would like to express your opinion about opening the Roan Plateau’s sensitive environmental areas to drilling, your letter will have to be received by mail or in person by Friday, Aug. 10 to the Bureau of Land Management, Glenwood Springs Field Office, 50629 Highway 6, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601.
Photos from the Saveroanplateau.org website
Top photo: Drilling at the base of the Roan; second photo of the Parachute Creek East Fork Falls, one of the tallest in Colorado at 200 feet from the Colorado Environmental Coalition; flight courtesy of EcoFlight. Third photo of one of the many drainages that create the rugged and dramatic canyons of the Roan Plateau by Jeff Widen. Bottom photo of the base of the Roan Plateau by Ecoflight.