Roan Plateau Drilling Battle Goes To Auction Block

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Golden, Colo. (AP) A years long battle over whether to drill on the Roan Plateau will come to a head Thursday when federal officials offer oil and gas leases on about 55,000 acres of public land.

Leases on the Roan are the only parcels up for bid in the Bureau Of Land Management's quarterly auction.

But thousands of protests filed on the parcels mean energy companies buying the leases won't get them right away.

Governor Ritter, Sen. Ken Salazar and congressmen John Salazar and Mark Udall have joined critics of the sale in asking the BLM to withdraw the proposed leases and adopt the state's plan for the Roan Plateau.

The Western Colorado landmark about 180 miles west of Denver is prized for its rich oil and natural gas reserves as well its wildlife and pristine backcountry.