Public comment welcome on Roan Plateau drilling plans

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MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO) -- As the Bureau of Land Management reevaluates drilling rules on the Roan Plateau, the agency asks for your input.

The BLM will be launching new environmental analyses for the Roan Plateau area of northwestern Colorado after the U.S. District Court of Colorado found deficiencies in the first supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS).

Experts will now look at a range of alternatives for extracting natural gas on the plateau, taking into account the effects on air quality from oil and gas drilling. They will also consider a "community alternative" and a no-action alternative.

If you want to weigh in, the BLM is holding to public scoping meetings in Garfield and Mesa counties. The first is on Feb. 27 in Silt at the Colorado River Valley Field Office at 2300 River Frontage Road from 4 to 7 p.m.

The second meeting is Feb. 28 in Grand Junction at the Clarion Inn at 755 Horizon Drive, also from 4 to 7 p.m.

You can submit your comments verbally or in writing until March 30, but remember that your entire comment can be made public at anytime, so take that into consideration before adding your address, phone number, email and more.

You can email your comments to or send them via fax to 970-876-9090. Send them via mail to Bureau of Land Management, Colorado River Valley Field Office, Roan Plateau Comments, 2300 River Frontage Road, Silt, CO 81652.

After the public comment period, the BLM will draft management alternatives to be analyzed in the SEIS. That draft will then be released for another period of public review and comment.

In 2008, 54,631 acres on the Roan Plateau were leased for $113.9 million, which is the highest dollar amount ever offered for an oil and gas lease sale in the continental United States, according to the BLM.

Lawsuits from environmental organizations stopped companies from drilling on the land until 2012, when the district court handed down its decision. Judge Marcia Krieger said the BLM failed to address the community alternative, air quality impacts on private lands, and potential ozone impacts. The existing leases were not invalidated, but the BLM was forced to begin a new SEIS.

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