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Aspen Public Radio news keeps you up to date with the latest information on the environment. From the debate over gas/oil drilling in the valley to water and wildlife - you will find our on-going commitment to those stories here.

BLM considers canceling Thompson Divide leases

Marci Krivonen

The Bureau of Land Management is open to canceling more than half of the undeveloped oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide. The leases in question are for Forest Service land but the BLM manages the mineral rights underneath. The BLM is reviewing the environmental impacts of what can be done with those leases, and has released the list of management options.

BLM spokesman David Boyd says they include "from not making any changes, to canceling them all. The proposed action, which is a step before we get to a preferred alternative, would cancel 18 leases in the Divide, and portions of the 7 other leases in the Thompson Divide.”

Proponents of restricting oil and gas development in the area support that approach. The BLM could also decide to stop companies from drilling on 75 wells already operating. The agency is taking comments through early January, and will hold several meetings next month. An industry group found the consideration shocking, concerned that the decision is politically motivated without enough consideration by the BLM.

In other oil and gas news, a state commission will hold another public hearing in early December about new Colorado industry regulations. Residents from the Roaring Fork Valley area traveled to Denver to testify at hearings earlier this week, but the commission ran out of time before they all could testify


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