December 14, 2007
Colorado Wildlife Federation thanks Senator Ken Salazar for proposing a one-year moratorium on leasing federal public lands on the Roan Plateau. We also continue to applaud Representatives Mark Udall and John Salazar for their perseverance. Patience is required at this time. The BLM's plan fails to protect signficant areas of important wildlife habitat. If the BLM is permitted to lease these areas next year, the leases will not reflect technological advances that occur during the next few years that would enable much less disturbance of important wildlife habitat.
Two articles: December 18 Denver Post - link below and Aspen Daily Times - printed out below
From the Aspen Daily Times
Salazar pushes Roan Plateau, oil shale measures in new energy bill
Aspen, CO Colorado
December 13, 2007
DENVER Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar plans to keep pushing for
restrictions on developing oil shale and drilling on western
Colorado's Roan Plateau, an effort drilling proponents denounced as
a backdoor attack on energy development.
An original version of the energy bill included restrictions on
drilling for natural gas on public land atop the Roan Plateau and
prohibited using federal funds to write final regulations for commercial
oil shale development, or to sell commercial oil shale leases.
Those provisions were dropped from a House com-promise approved Dec. 6
and didn't make it into the Senate version. Salazar said during a
teleconference with reporters Wednesday, that he will push to include
the oil-shale measures and a one-year moratorium on leasing federal land
on top of the Roan in an omnibus spending bill.
Some of the elected officials in western Colorado, hunting and angling
groups, environmentalists and churches across the state have called for
protecting the Roan Plateau, rich in natural gas and oil shale as well
as wildlife and pristine backcountry. There is drilling on some of the
formation's private land, and the Bureau of Land Management in June
approved a plan opening some of the federal land to drilling.
"What I'm trying to do is the right thing for Colorado, for the
land and water and people of Colorado," Salazar said. "I want to
make sure we don't destroy the sustain-ability of western
Americans for American Energy, a Golden-based group that advocates
domestic energy production, said delaying development of the Roan
Plateau would deprive the state of billions of dollars of revenue in
taxes and fees and deprive the country of much needed energy. Greg
Schnacke, the group's president and chief executive, contended that
Salazar's proposals are a ploy to block the project indefinitely.
Increasing domestic energy production will increase national security
as the country's reliance on foreign fuel is reduced, added Schnacke,
the former director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, a trade
"They proclaim themselves to be the kings of the Roan," Salazar
said of the criticism from industry representatives. "The Roan
Plateau doesn't belong to any one king. It belongs to the people of
this country, as a land of many uses."
Leaders from 22 churches along the Front Range and on the Western Slope
sent a letter Wednesday to Gov. Bill Ritter, urging him to protect
the unique Roan Plateau. He is expected to submit his comments on the
BLM's management plan next week. Ritter, who took office last January,
sought extra time to review the plan.
"We call you to stewardship and urge you to call for no drilling on
the undeveloped public lands within the Roan Plateau Planning Area,"
the church leaders wrote. A similar plea was made last week by elected
officials from four communities near the Roan Plateau.
Tod Tibbetts, mayor pro tem of Silt, said the BLM's plan for the Roan
is one "of the most restrictive plan for drilling that I've observed" and
thinks the agency did a good job, considering the pressure from the
industry and the Bush administration for energy development. But
Tibbetts said Silt, which twice approved resolutions opposing drilling
on the plateau's top, and other communities want to delay development
in hopes that technology will advance to the point that the impacts are
minimal. The Roan Plateau is a major draw for hunters from across the
country and hunting makes up an estimated 25 to 30 percent of Silt's
sales tax revenue, he said.
The problem that we have observed regionally is that the extreme
fast pace of gas development has made it very difficult for regulatory
agencies to keep up with enforcing current regulations and the current
stan-dards on the books," Tibbetts said.