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RBC I The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released the draft White River Resource Management Plan Oil and Gas Amendment, which will help guide oil and gas development in northwestern Colorado’s Piceance Basin during the next 20 years.
The BLM is seeking public comment on the draft plan amendment that analyzes four alternatives on potential oil and gas development and proposes appropriate mitigation measures on the 1.7 million acres of federal leasable minerals administered by the BLM’s White River Field Office, which includes Rio Blanco County, southern Moffat County, and a small part of northern Garfield County.
“As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, we are working to expand safe and responsible oil and gas exploration and production,” said Mike Pool, acting BLM director. “We know that energy production is a major economic engine for Colorado, and we worked with our partners to craft a wide range of possible alternatives for public review and comment. This draft plan amendment considers a number of development scenarios and suggests environmental protections that will ensure that oil and gas activities are conducted in appropriate areas using best practices.”
In 2012, oil and gas development in Colorado supported thousands of jobs and boosted the American economy by approximately $9.5 billion. During the next 20 years, oil and gas activities in this area of the Piceance Basin could produce 878 billion cubic feet of natural gas annually and create as many as 8,000 new jobs in northwestern Colorado.
The majority of acreage within the White River Field Office is already leased for oil and gas development. The draft plan amendment considers a range of development alternatives from 4,603 new wells on 550 new well pads to 21,200 new wells on 2,556 new well pads. The draft plan amendment also proposes a number of possible mitigation measures to minimize impacts to wildlife and other sensitive resources.
The BLM will host four public open houses to answer questions and provide an opportunity to submit written comments on this Draft RMP Amendment. The public can submit comments between 4-7 p.m. at the following locations:
n Sept. 24, Meeker, Colo.: Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds, 779 Sulphur Creek Rd.
n Sept. 25, Rangely, Colo.: Colorado Northwestern Community College, Rangely Campus, Weiss Building, 500 Kennedy Dr.
n Sept. 26, Silt, Colo.: BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office, 2300 River Frontage Rd.
n Sept. 27, Grand Junction, Colo.: Clarion Inn, 755 Horizon Dr.
The BLM encourages the public to actively participate in the resource management planning process by submitting comments on the proposed plan amendment. The BLM will accept public comments through Dec. 14, 2012. The BLM will then consider the public comments as it develops a final proposed alternative. A final decision is expected in April 2014.
To read the draft plan amendment and see how to submit comments visit www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/wrfo.html.