The Bureau of Land Management released environmental information this week about potential oil and gas development in northwest Colorado.
The BLM plans to offer 106 parcels totaling over 100,000 acres in a May 2017 lease sale, but first, the public has a chance to comment on the environmental assessment.
Most of the leases are in areas on the Western Slope that have already seen significant oil and gas development. The BLM plans to protect just over 200 acres that have been identified as important habitat for mating sage grouse.
The environmental assessment comes during a transitional time. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel announced Thursday that the BLM has finalized a rule that will support more renewable energy development, like solar and wind, on public lands. Meanwhile, oil and gas leases on public lands are being sold online, and industry officials say they anticipate a warmer political climate for energy development.