BLM drops controversial North Fork Valley parcels from lease sale

The Bureau of Land Management announced this morning it will remove from its February oil and gas lease sale 20,000 acres in the North Fork Valley in response to protests and criticism from residents.

The BLM received nearly 200 protests from ranchers, wineries, real estate professionals, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and others that listing 20 parcels totaling 20,555 acres could harm the valley’s economy and wildlife. A Delta County citizens’ group, Citizens for a Healthy Community, threatened to sue if the BLM didn’t defer the leasing.

“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,” Helen Hankins, director of the BLM’s Colorado office, said in a statement. “We are addressing the deferred parcels through continued dialogue with the local community and with ongoing planning efforts in the Uncompahgre Field Office.”

The BLM will proceed with offering 151 parcels totaling 88,578 acres at its Feb. 14 lease sale.

Read the full story in Thursday’s Daily Sentinel.



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