BLM proposes oil, gas leasing near Loma
Large swaths of acreage below the Bookcliffs north of Mack and Loma would be leased for oil and gas development in December along with other parcels in Mesa and Garfield counties under a proposal by the Bureau of Land Management.
It is currently seeking public comments on the proposal.
Altogether, the BLM is proposing to offer 28 parcels involving about 27,280 acres of federal minerals. This includes 22,308 acres in Mesa County and 4,975 in Garfield County. About 800 acres lie beneath private land.
Much of the acreage lies on both sides of Colorado Highway 139 in western Mesa County, with other parcels also lying west of Parachute and De Beque, and a small parcel sitting near Molina.
Twenty-seven of the proposed parcels fall within the 700,000 acres of the Shale Ridges and Canyons master leasing plan that was a part of the resource management plan adopted by the BLM’s Grand Junction Field Office in 2015.
Leases would be issued with parcel-by-parcel conditions including things such as timing limits on development and in some cases prohibitions on surface use, to protect wildlife, soil and other resources.
The BLM decided to defer leasing on more than 2,000 acres within parts of three parcels because they have lands with wilderness characteristics and require more evaluation, the agency says. The Wilderness Society has raised concerns with other parcels, but in those cases the agency either found that the lands involved don’t meet the criteria of lands with wilderness characteristics, or previously has decided not to manage the land to protect those characteristics.
The BLM decided to defer leasing altogether in the case of three parcels due to the need to further evaluate lands with wilderness characteristics. These include land adjacent to the Demaree Wilderness Study Area north of Loma.