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Oil lease sales go online

Oct 19, 2016

Previously issued BLM leases in the Thompson Divide area were canceled. Now, the agency is moving to online sales.
Credit Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio News

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will offer 31 oil and gas leases for sale this December, but these sales will happen online.

25 parcels in Mesa and Garfield counties are among those offered in Colorado’s first internet-based sale of oil and gas leases on public lands.

The BLM piloted online sales for energy development in Colorado in 2009, and Congress amended the Mineral Leasing Act last year to allow for the change. The federal agency says internet-only auctions could increase revenue because participation is easier when bidders do not have to travel.

Oil and gas companies appreciate the change so that organized attempts to thwart drilling activity can’t happen at the location of the sale. The Western Energy Alliance released a statement saying that recent protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline justify a move to online-only auctions.

The public has until Nov. 14 to protest the leasing of any parcels offered in December.