The Board of Pitkin County Commissioners (BOCC) today expressed their gratitude to the Bureau of Land Management staff and the BLM’s Colorado River Valley Field Office for producing the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) which, in effect, paves the way for the cancellation of oil and gas leases in Thompson Divide.
“This is great news for Pitkin County, our residents, visitors, recreationalist and the agricultural community,” said BOCC Chair, Rachel Richards. “We’ve worked very hard to support the cancellation of these leases and we will keep a close eye on the process until the decision is final,” Richards said.
The preferred alternative in the FEIS cancels 25 undeveloped leases in Thompson Divide and applies new stipulations to the remaining leases that are not currently producing oil or gas. It makes no or only minor adjustments to leases that are producing.
“The preferred alternative recognizes that some areas are appropriate for gas development as a consequence of existing infrastructure and presence of producing wells. It also recognizes other areas that are roadless and undeveloped and that possess significant wildlife habitat, or have uses already present that are not compatible with oil and gas activity ought to be preserved,” Richards said.
The BOCC expressed that it is pleased that the preferred alternative represents the desires of local communities and recognizes the input provided to the BLM during public comment periods. The next step in the cancellation of the leases is the issuance of a final record of decision.
“The preferred alternative reflects a uniquely balanced approach to land management that accommodates various and often incompatible uses and demands on federal lands,” Richards said.