The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has clawed back about 43 square miles of public land in western Colorado from a planned June 8 oil and gas lease sale. Tracts in Grand County near Rocky Mountain National Park were dropped, with the sale now covering 115 square miles in parts of Jackson, Routt, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties. BLM Colorado officials said lawsuits had been filed against the sale by Grand County commissioners, a ranch, the Wilderness Society and others. The sale includes acreage in some of the state's highest potential for oil and gas development, according to the Western Slope Chapter of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (WSCOGA). WSCOGA Executive Director David Ludlam said he hoped BLM “reduces the practice of deferring lease nominations for political reasons and instead leases new lands for exploration, knowing that environmental review and appropriate mitigation can and will be applied.” Political deferrals "dissuade investment" in future exploration on federal lands, he said.