BLM defers proposed oil, gas lease sales

The Durango Herald | August 17, 2013

Second time agency has delayed plans in region

By Emery Cowan Herald staff writer

Article Last Updated: Saturday, August 17, 2013 8:28pm

More than 12,000 acres of federal mineral rights in Southwest Colorado that officials previously indicated would be up for gas and oil lease sale in November have been deferred.

The only parcels included in the state BLM’s official notice of the November gas and oil lease sale are in the Royal Gorge Field Office area. The parcels cover about 2,500 acres in northeast Colorado.

Connie Clementson, field manager of the Tres Rios Field Office, which oversees Southwest Colorado, told La Plata County commissioners in June that the 12 nominated parcels in the office’s territory would be going to lease sale in November. They originally were scheduled to be offered at the February 2013 sale but were deferred.

Clementson said the BLM wanted to proceed with leasing in 2013 while the environmental assessment the agency performed last year was current and accurate.

When contacted Friday, Clementson wrote in an email that the BLM decided to defer the parcels again in order to “complete further analysis and work with interested agencies.”

That could mean tribal entities or agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Reclamation that manage the surface above federal mineral rights, said Shannon Borders, a BLM spokeswoman.

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