Grand Junction Comes Up Short On Bid To Protect Watershed

Denver (AP)- The sale of federal oil and gas leases in Colorado
that fetched a record 11–point–8 (M) million dollars Thursday included
parcels in areas that supply drinking water for Palisade and Grand
Junction. The Western Colorado communities protested the leases. Palisade Mayor Doug Edwards says his town will consider all options —including a lawsuit. Senator Ken Salazar and Congressman John Salazar — both democrats — had asked the Bureau of Land Management to delay auctioning off the nearly 17–thousand acres on the Grand Mesa. John Salazar says he's disappointed the BLM didn't wait and will meet Friday with the state director. Republican Senator Wayne Allard's staff says he has received assurances from the BLM that conditions will be imposed to protect the water sources.
The BLM approved oil and gas leases on 129 parcels totaling
about 134–thousand acres. Some of the spots include areas proposed
by citizens as wilderness. The disputed leases won't be issued until the BLM considers the protests.
(Copyright 2006 by the Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)