Conservationists in Colorado say the Bureau of Land Management's leasing Thursday of parcels on South Shale Ridge between Grand Junction and Debeque for energy development destroys the area's potential for wilderness, but a spokesperson for the land agency says further delay is a waste of taxpayer money.
The auction includes more than 27,000 acres of South Shale Ridge. Environmental groups have said the area meets requirements for inclusion in the wilderness system and is also home to several plants with potential for endangered species status.
Jean Peterson with the Bureau of Land Management tells 11 News the bureau deferred development of the ridge for nearly 20 years until recent court decisions and changes in policy made further deferments a waste of taxpayers money.
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