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BLM Blows Roan Decision

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The Bureau of Land Management on Thursday released its management plan for drilling on the Roan Plateau, home of a great deal of biodiversity as well as large amounts of oil and gas. Last year, Gov. Ritter proposed a number of environmental compromises to establish more responsible drilling plans on top of the Plateau. The BLM’s decision disregards the majority of those proposals.

“In December, Ritter sent recommendations to the Bureau of Land Management—a division of the Department of Interior—asking for areas considered the most environmentally sensitive under the bureau’s plan be expanded to 36,184 acres from 21,034 acres. [The] plan also suggested phasing in leases on top of the plateau rather than leasing the land all at once, effectively increasing the protected areas on the plateau.

But the federal government ignored most of Ritter’s suggestions, submitting a plan Thursday without significant changes from one issued last June.”

Thankfully, Colorado’s Congressional Democrats issued statements expressing their disappointment with the BLM’s decision. Rep. Mark Udall hinted that legislation based on Gov. Ritter’s proposal will be written. While this is good news, I’m left wondering if that level of action will be enough to forestall excessive exploitation of the Plateau. I can’t see Bush signing any such legislation by itself, being as his BLM just rejected the proposal. Will it be introduced as part of a larger measure? It’s too early to tell, though I’ll watch for developments. By the way, the Denver Post’s Editorial Board (!) wrote today that the call should be reversed, by legislation if necessary.

This decision comes after the people in local towns, counties and across the state have clearly indicated their opposition to the kind of drilling found at the base of the Roan Plateau being extended to the top. Chalk up one more example of the Bush administration ignoring what the people want: industry profits trump everything.

Speaking of which, here’s what Greg Schnacke, former executive vice president of a state oil and gas group and the head of Americans for American Energy said:

“This decision is equivalent to the BLM giving Colorado a $1 billion winning lottery ticket.”

Is that so, Greg? Tell me, how much will it cost the taxpayers of Colorado to clean up the industrial mess left behind once the oil and gas is pumped dry? What happens when the drillers dump their mess into streams and pollute the watershed? What happens if an accident occurs and oil or gas washes over the landscape? Will the drillers pay for that or will the Coloradans who didn’t want the drilling to take place be stuck with the tab again?

Because I’ll tell you what Greg, the people of Colorado understand that they’ve already got a winning lottery ticket in their hands: an unspoiled Roan Plateau. Left as is, it’s worth more to us than anything your industry could dig up. Your lottery ticket is a rip-off and we don’t want ours stolen from us.

With our options running out, I heartily support legislative action to at least limit the kind and amount of drilling that can take place. It’s a far cry than what should happen, but it’s a step away from the mess the BLM and Bush’s cronies want to impose on us.

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2 thoughts on “BLM Blows Roan Decision

  1. Pingback: Bob Schaffer & The Roan Plateau Decision « Weatherdem’s Weblog

  2. 11th Hour for Cloud’s Herd,
    URGENT MESSAGE ABOUT THE PYRORS
    Please act now to stop this unnecessary and cruel round up— the BLM still plans to move forward on September 1st

    The Bureau of Land Management is rounding up and eliminating 12 herds (650 horses) off 1.4 million acres in Nevada right now– next they plan to destroy Cloud’s herd with a massive removal of 70 horses that would include OLDER HORSES and YOUNG FOALS.
    Many of the horses you have come to love in the Cloud shows and will meet in the new Cloud show on October 25th will lose their families and their freedom next week. By zeroing out whole herds and reducing others to below genetic viability, the BLM is circumventing the will of Congress. The House just passed the Restoring of American Mustangs (ROAM) act and the Senate will review this bill (now S.1579) when they return from recess in September. Is BLM just trying to do as much irrevocable damage to America’s wild horses as they can before Congress can act?
    This round up will start on September 1st unless we can stop it. Removing 70 horses will destroy this unique little Spanish herd, leaving them well below the bare minimum for genetic viability. The range is in great condition and the horses are healthy. This removal should be stopped. Please do all you can to help! Listen to Ginger Kathrens on Endangered Stream Live– a special edition show “Angels for Cloud”

    National Call in Day for Cloud is Friday, August 28th — SPREAD THE WORD! Have your kids call in and write too– These horses need to be preserved for future generations and we must act NOW

    1. Call/write/fax President Obama as often as you can—this herd is a national treasure and should not be wiped out by a government agency. Please flood the phone lines with calls! Phone: 202-456-1111 or 202-456-9000 Fax: 202-456-2461
    E-mail Obama

    2. Ask Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar to stop this round up
    Call: 202-208-3100
    Write: feedback@ios.doi.gov

    3. BLM Director Bob Abbey, tell him to halt this round up– he must reconsider his agency’s actions
    Call: 202-208-3801
    Fax: 202-208-5242
    Robert_Abbey@blm.gov

    4. Call and write your own Senators and Congress people- tell them that Montana is allowing the destruction of Cloud’s unique and historical wild horse herd. Politely express your outrage and ask them to help stop this round up. Find your state offices here

    Listen to Ginger Kathrens NOW on “WFL Endangered Stream Live”

    REMEMBER: National Cloud Call-In Day is FRIDAY, AUGUST 28th!

    Thank you to everyone for signing the petition- we only need about 400 more signatures!

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