April 21, 2008
On April 17, Senator Salazar, Representative Salazar and Representative Udal introduced legislation to protect the Roan Plateau and to Maximize Colorado's Oil and Gas Leasing Revenues. Senate Bill 2879.
As conservationists who care deeply about our state's natural resources, we believe it is necessary to work out a balanced solution for the future of the Roan Plateau Planning Area that protects our public lands, fish, wildlife, and hunting and angling heritiage.
CWF supports this legislation as it would protect 39,000 acres of senstive wildlife habitat and cutthroat trout watersheds, and allows phased leasing with numerous important conditions that must be met. The BLM Plan would have protected only 21,000 acres and imposed far fewer conditions for drilling. The BLM plan would allow leases to be entered into early this August to develop as many as 1,570 new natural gas wells.
Key points of this legislation include protecting a significant amount of the most sensitive habitats on the Roan through:
Non-waivable no surface occupancy/no ground disturbance stipulations for lands covered in Governor Ritter's recommendations and an additional 3,000 acres critical for the health of drainages that support native Colorado River cutthroat trout.
Leasing will be phased, maximizing reveneus to the state and ensuring that development does not occur haphazardly as we are seeing throughout the Piceance Basin.
Public comment will be required for the BLM to determine what area will be leased first and also how development will occur.
Development will be required to use state of the art technology to reduce the footprint of development and minimize impacts to land, wildlife, and recreational opportunities. Development will be along existing main ridge roads.