BLM to Cancel Leases in Thompson Divide

by Elizabeth Alford on February 18, 2016

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced last week that it is considering cancelling 25 oil and gas leases on the Thompson Divide, in Colorado.

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BLM officials are working to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIN) that will be ready for public comment in July. In one of its drafts released last week, the agency proposed to cancel in full 25 leases in the Thompson Divide area southwest of Glenwood Springs.

The announcement caused a flurry of activity among those on both sides of the issue, including ranchers and business owners in the area who have tried to purchase the non-producing leases in the Thompson Divide for years and are supportive of the measure.

Environmental groups are lauding the solution as an important step forward in protecting the undisturbed Thompson Divide. “This is an equitable approach that protects the Thompson Divide while upholding more prospective leases in the center of the Piceance Basin,” said Zane Kessler, executive director for the Thompson Divide Coalition.

Industry officials are concerned with the proposal and are assessing what their collective response should be.

Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky told the Post Independent that he won’t be able to support a plan that cancels valid leases saying, “Those leases are a private property right, and if you cancel them it leaves a lot of questions up in the air.”


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