BLM To Delay Watershed Lease For Year

The Bureau of Land Management announced today it's decision on energy exploration on portions of the Grand Mesa.

The BLM says it will issue leases in the watersheds of Grand Junction and Palisade, but then suspend the leases for a year. That will give the two municipalities time to work out issues with the lessee of the parcels to produce a community–based development plan. Doody says the city also wants to have an on–the–ground presence at the drill sites, and says the lessee should provide that expertise in surface geology and runoff. If the company will not do that, he says the city will hire an expert.

Other stipulations require the lessee to submit a plan of development that will undergo environmental study with community involvement.

The decision by the federal agency comes after both Palisade and Grand Junction filed protests on the mineral sales, fearing that drilling in watersheds could compromise water quality.