BLM: Gas leases would not harm North Fork Valley
Leasing 22 parcels of land for natural gas drilling would have no significant impact on the North Fork Valley of the Gunnison River, the Bureau of Land Management tentatively found.
Public comment is now being sought on the environmental assessment for the lease sale, scheduled in August.
The unsigned assessment noted that the lease is not expected to have a significant effect on public health and safety and that the effects on “the quality of the human environment are not likely to be highly controversial,” as oil and gas leasing has taken place north and west of Paonia Reservoir State Park and in the general area.
The effects of leasing are generally well understood, the draft document says.
Hundreds of opponents have attended public meetings in Hotchkiss and Paonia so far this year, urging the BLM not to proceed with leasing. Opponents also are seeking an environmental impact statement for the lease auction.
Written comments may be submitted online at on.doi.gov/UFOAugustLeaseSale or by mail to BLM, Uncompahgre Field Office, 2465 S. Townsend Ave., Montrose, CO 81401.