BLM plans influence energy development in Routt County

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■ Kremmling Field Office

4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 8 at the fairgrounds in Kremmling

■ Colorado River Valley Field Office

3 to 7 p.m. Oct. 6 at the BLM office in Silt, 2300 River Frontage Road

3 to 7 p.m. Oct. 11 at Eagle Public Library, 600 Broadway St.

3 to 7 p.m. Oct. 12 at Carbondale Town Hall, 511 Colorado Ave.

Online

Read the pending Little Snake Field Office management Plan at www.blm.gov. Click on the map of Colorado and then click on the Little Snake area. Scroll down to the second bullet point and click on “View Little Snake Resources Management Plan.”

— The federal Bureau of Land Management plays a key role in overseeing oil and gas exploration on federal lands in Northwest Colorado, and two long-term plans that provide guidance on how energy development will go forward in Routt County are in different stages of development this fall.

Emily Spencer, an ecologist in the BLM’s Little Snake Resource Field Office in Craig, said Friday the final record of decision on a new resource management plan that has been a decade in the making is due to be signed in Washington, D.C., shortly.

The Little Snake Office manages the large majority of BLM lands in Routt County, where local officials are evaluating four new petitions for permits to drill oil wells. However, two neighboring field offices in Kremmling and Silt are planning public hearings on their new draft management plans, which also include oil and mineral development policy.

“We only revise these resource management plans about every 20 years, so we really want to hear from the public and get feedback on the alternatives,” Dave Stout, field manager for the Kremmling Field Office, said in a news release.

The role of the BLM in overseeing energy development on public lands is amplified by the role it plays overseeing drilling and site cleanup in energy development on national forests.

For example, the draft plan for the Kremmling Field Office covers 377,900 surface acres where sagebrush habitat and the wild and scenic statistics of rivers may be considered. However, its purview when it comes to subsurface mineral rights in Grand, Jackson, Routt, Summit, Larimer and Eagle counties expands to encompass 653,000 acres.

The management plan for the Little Snake Field Office, due to be formalized soon, reports that more than 1 million acres currently are leased for oil and gas within its boundaries in Routt and Moffat counties and the northeast corner of Rio Blanco County. About 15 percent of those leases have seen oil and gas development.

While the current boom-let in drilling permit applications are focused primarily on oil, the Little Snake district is estimated to have 9.9 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas.

Areas that have been closed to drilling in the new plan include all 78,000 acres of wilderness study areas, the Emerald Mountain Special Recreation Area, Vermillion Basin, Dinosaur North, Cold Spring Mountain, Irish Canyon (an area of Critical Environmental Concern), and a section of the Yampa River suitable for wild and scenic status.

Colorado River Valley BLM

The draft management plan for the Colorado River Valley Field Office explains the division of responsibilities between the BLM and the Forest Service. The Forest Service, in its long-range planning, analyzes the impact of from oil and gas leasing and describes where it will and will not consent to leasing. The BLM takes responsibility for decisions concerning drilling, producing and plugging and abandoning wells drilled beneath Forest Service lands.

A small strip of southern Routt County falls within the oversight of the Colorado River Valley Field Office, where officials are preparing for public hearings on its new management plan. Although the office represents a small percentage of the county overall, the area exceeds 56,000 acres. Only a very small piece of eastern Routt County falls within the boundaries of the Kremmling Field Office.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

kathy foos 5 years, 6 months ago

Is the BLM taking the position that gas fracking is totally safe now?Foolproof? Im thinking you control this whole situation for money and that there is probably not much oil product in Routt county(they would have gone after it before?).butYou will benefit will the "goldrush" mentality .What part of South Routt are you planning to thrash ?The Colorado River I bet.NO!Dont ruin any water in southern Routt county , BLM..Where are your gas frackers going to dump the liners laced with cancer causing chemicals,not Eagle county Landfill?Let the oil wells operate.Do not mess any part of our south routt up,please.Maybe you cause these rushes and pollutions to generate money for your orginazation?You know that there isn't much oil here,but you are manipulating the oil companys for leases ?Consider wildlife ,emergency cleanup measures,public safety., road protections , cases like (RIFLE) are going to be resolved in court.I dont care who you are,you cannot pollute public lands,especially since you are the supposed guardian of public lands.Are you the exploiters of" our (mine)" public lands or the protectors?.....Sign and fence off public lands that are producing lethal products such as oil..........Dont allow more teens killed and injured in Routt county, by unsigned ,unfenced,facilitys in rafting,camping,hunting ,hiking ,biking fishing areas.(see CSB Safety video ,No Place to hang out")At least 44 teens dead because dangerous areas, dont get fenced.You control it?Oil Safety caught my eye in 2007 when my 17 year son Sam Hedemark got blown 400 feet in the air(holding his dog) in an unsigned,unfenced facility in the Flattops Wilderness Area ,He was a Routt county resident ,site is 10 mintues from Yampa Co, in Rio Blanco County controlled by the Medicine Bow Forest Service(Wyoming)forest is managed in Yampa Forest Ranger station that manages the oil lease ,also Craig BLM jurisdiction, Oak Creek Emercency responds to the scene ,A Hayden youth lost leg seperate incident and two south routt teens dead,others injured..Many facilitys like these remain unsigned and fenced to this day .In the Rifle area , 5000 people strong class action suit for gas fracking pollutions.You will be covering all potential losses to the people for losses incured by the oil companys if they pollute or injure since you recommend this?Are people aware that oil companys aren't required to have insurance to operate?Dont mess up any part of Routt county for any reason works for me.Maybe the Rifle gas fracking mistakes were honestly made,but now I wonder..........BLM knows of the fracking problems and continue to recommend it for our public lands that you guard for us?Who do you work for now.Oil Companys or the public?

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