The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) received formal protests from Garfield County and from a coalition of environmental advocacy groups this past week for the recently passed oil shale plan, although the protests raise very different complaints. The county commissioners believe the plan does not make enough land available for leasing, while the environmental groups allege that the plan opens up too much land to potential development.
Posts Tagged ‘Garfield County’
Three towns in western Colorado are urging the BLM to take a conservative approach to oil shale, placing them at odds with county commissioners who want to leave nearly 2 million acres in Shale Country open for oil shale development. The towns of Rifle, New Castle and Carbondale endorsed Alternative 3 in the 2012 draft programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS), which limits oil shale leasing to the less than 30,000 acres that are already leased.
The city council of Rifle asked the BLM to “carefully analyze the potential socio-economic impacts of large-scale development before issuing any further leases,” according to the Rifle Citizen Telegram. This is a slightly different than the council’s position last year when they wanted to limit oil shale leases to the preexisting lease areas. Rifle now feels that this position was too restrictive and have instead urged the BLM to move slowly with oil shale leasing, at first only granting research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) leases and then analyzing the impact of commercial leasing upon cities and the environment.
If the companies on these leases are able to prove their technology as economically and environmentally sufficient, more land would become available for commercial leasing under Alternative 3.
Read more about the towns’ positions after the break
A Colorado public interest group has filed an open records request with county leaders involved in a closed-door oil shale meeting in March, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reports. The meeting between county commissioners took place in Vernal, Utah on March 27 and involved county leaders from Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. Colorado Common Cause claims that the closed door meeting on federal land policy violated Utah’s open meeting laws.
“We feel public business should be done in public, and it appears in this instance that we had county commissioners crossing state lines, meeting in secret, and not providing transparency to their constituents,” Elena Nunez, the executive director of Colorado Common Cause said in a prepared statement.
County commissioners from Shale Country are uniting together against the BLM’s new approach to oil shale and calling for the BLM to stick with the plan already in place so that the industry might take off. Commissioners from Mesa County, Colorado, and Uintah County, Utah, unanimously voted to pass separate resolutions denouncing the federal government’s plan to cut the amount of land potentially available for oil shale development in western Colorado, eastern Utah, and southern Wyoming, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (subscription required) and The Salt Lake Tribune report. The resolutions ask the Bureau of Land Management to cease all activities on the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) and to extend the public comment period beyond the May 4 deadline.
The wording in these resolutions is essentially the same as those recently passed in Garfield County and Rio Blanco County. They blast the Bureau of Land Management for being “anti-oil shale pro-wilderness” and blame the Department of Energy for abdicating their responsibilities to manage and maintain an oil shale industry.
More after the break.
County commissioners from Garfield County unanimously approved a resolution Monday to denounce the federal government’s plan to reduce the amount of acreage potentially available for oil shale development in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reports.
The resolution takes a sharp tone against the federal government’s approach to oil shale. The county commissioners accuse the Bureau of Land Management of being “encumbered by a host of anti-oil shale pro-wilderness groups steering the BLM’s every move.”
After the break: Details about the resolution and reaction among Garfield County residents.
County officials from Shale Country will meet today to discuss a joint resolution put forward by several county commissioners criticizing the Obama’s administration’s approach to oil shale. The Glenwood Springs Post Independent reports that Garfield County is leading a tri-state resolution to promote oil shale development within the region.
All three Garfield County commissioners Tom Jankovsky, John Martin, and Mike Samson - all Republicans - joined commissioners from other Shale Country counties in Vernal, Utah, during the week of March 26 to denounce the 2012 Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement recently released by the Bureau of Land Management. The preferred alternative by the BLM in the draft limits oil shale land for development to less than 460,000 and only for research, not commercial operations.
After the break: Details on the resolution.