Last week, Mesa County Commissioners submitted formal comments to the BLM Field Office in Silt, Colorado, concerning 65 leases that the BLM has indicated it plans to review, approximately half of which are in Mesa County.
“The Commissioners believe it is wrong for the BLM to consider modifying and/or canceling leases, on the basis of a technicality, in Northwest Colorado -- many of which were executed over a decade ago. We ask the BLM to halt this process and avoid legal action that will inevitably follow if even one of these 65 leases is canceled or modified in this process that many consider to be unlawful.”
“We support the BLM simply reaffirming the existing leases by adopting the 1993 Oil and Gas EIS (economic impact study) for leasing on the White River National Forest, an option suggested in 2007 by the Interior Board of Land Appeals.”
The Commissioners explain: “socioeconomic impacts of canceling or modifying any of these leases will negatively impact northwest Colorado’s fragile economy,” and “at a 7.9% unemployment rate, we cannot afford to lose even one job in Mesa County.”
In the event the BLM elects to move forward on the process, Mesa County requested “cooperating agency status”, a formal relationship whereby Mesa County is better able to monitor BLM action.