The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Colorado said Monday that it is seeking public comments on a proposal to offer 18,349 acres in Garfield and Mesa counties in a competitive oil and natural gas lease sale later this year.
BLM is eyeing 20 parcels near DeBeque and four small parcels near Collbran for a proposed Nov. 10 sale. Comments are due by March 10. BLM wants public input prior to beginning an environmental assessment (EA). The EA will be released for public comment in May.
A number of BLM sales have been postponed or rescheduled in recent months as a national effort by environmental groups -- Keep It in the Ground -- has organized protests at lease sale locations (see Daily GPI, Dec. 7, 2015). Earlier this month, a BLM sale in Colorado was postponed because talks with Native American stakeholders had not been completed (see Daily GPI, Feb. 5).
Regarding the prospective November sale, Joe Meyer, BLM northwest Colorado district manager, said the most effective comments from stakeholders "will address issues and concerns specific to these parcels being considered.”
BLM recently completed new Resource Management Plans for the areas that include updated restrictions for oil and gas leasing designed to protect natural resources, Meyer said.
BLM officials said Colorado state coffers receive 49% of the proceeds from each mineral lease sale and from mineral royalties, with the remainder going to the federal government. In fiscal year 2015, Colorado received about $247 million from royalties, rentals and bonus bid payments for all federal minerals, including oil and gas.
Maps and lease stipulations are available for review on the BLM website.