Senator Allard Discusses Energy Development Plan

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Senator Wayne Allard made a stop in Grand Junction Saturday afternoon to discuss his plans for energy development on the Roan Plateau, which has become a battleground for energy developers and environmentalists.

Addressing his constituents, the senator expressed his frustration with the recent passing of the Federal Energy Bill.

The bill featured an amendment sponsored by Democratic Representatives John Salazar and Mark Udall that bars drilling atop the Roan Plateau.

Allard, a Republican, opposes the Roan Amendment, saying the sooner energy companies can get in, the sooner those revenues can boost the state's economy.

"That means a lot of things can be done with 35 million dollars at the state level and we want to get that to the state as quickly as possible," said Senator Allard.

State senator Josh Penry also made a case for the economic benefits of drilling on the Roan.

"That just means more money, in the case of our proposal, to the state's colleges and to energy impacted areas."

Environmentalists, however, are worried about the potential impacts this could have on water and wildlife.

"It doesn't need to happen in places like Roan Plateau where there are pure strains of Colorado River, cutthroat trout, and where there are plants that don't occur anywhere else," said Save Roan Plateau consultant, Pete Kolbenschlag.

Groups like “Save Roan Plateau” feel that enough drilling is already going on in other areas to boost the state's economy, and that better, safer drilling technology will come along if the government will wait for it.

"We think it's an important resource for Colorado to protect it and there's no rush to lease it," said Kolbenschlag.

For now, Senator Allard is encouraged that both sides are working toward a solution to meet the country's future energy needs.