In a press release sent out early this morning, the BLM Colorado Office announced that all 20 North Fork Valley parcels have been removed from the Feb. 14th oil and gas lease sale.
“We’ve listened to concerns raised in numerous comments and public meetings and we are responding by deferring the North Fork Valley parcels at this time,” said Colorado State Director Helen Hankins. “We are addressing the deferred parcels through continued dialogue with the local community and with ongoing planning efforts in the Uncompahgre Field Office.
KVNF’s Marty Durlin interviewed BLM spokesperson Steven Hall, a Hotchkiss native, about the decision. He was speaking on his cell phone from an airport, and began by stressing that the parcels were not deferred because the the agency’s 20-year-old Resource Management Plan is inadequate. Hear that interview below:
Federal oil and gas parcels offered for lease are nominated by oil and gas companies and then reviewed by the BLM to determine the appropriateness of potential development. Approved parcels are offered at one of the BLM's quarterly sales, which are required by law. In this case, the North Fork parcels were proposed for the February 14 quarterly sale.
The BLM has said that "We are addressing the deferred parcels through continued dialogue with the local community and with ongoing planning efforts in the Uncompahgre Field Office." According to an email released this morning by "Citizens for a Healthy Community", a grassroots organization that has been working toward the deferment of the leases, "This is a tremendous victory for the community in the North Fork Valley! "