The Mesa County Commissioners this morning signed a letter protesting the Bureau of Land Management's Northwest Colorado Greater Sage-Grouse proposed land use plan amendment and final environmental impact statement.
The letter assures the county's primary concerns are on record, County Attorney Patrick Coleman advised the board at this morning's administrative hearing. It also allows the county to appeal the BLM's Record of Decision, if officials disagree with it once it is issued.
Mesa County has been a cooperating agency with the BLM for several years on this issue, said Keith Fife, Mesa County's Natural Resource Liaison.
The letter reiterates some of the county's concerns with the Greater Sage-Grouse proposal. Those include:
- A lack of scientific evidence in the final Environmental Impact Statement
- Improper coordination of state and local governments with little time to review information
- The imposition of new restrictions on oil and gas development
- An inconsistency with state and local plans
Mesa County's letter also concurs with other entities that are protesting the amendment and environmental impact statement.
"There are valid and existing lease rights that are in jeopardy right now," said Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese at this morning's hearing. "I don't understand how they can change the rules of the game in the middle. Economic development is very vital to all of us on the Western Slope. There should be no stipulations on existing leases."
Read the protest letter here.