Iconic Public Lands, Local Communities, Climate And Clean Air at Risk

September 15, 2018


Drilling on Colorado’s Roan Plateau has decimated public lands in this high mounting region. Photo by EcoFlight.

This past week, opposition continued to mount to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s plans to auction public lands in Colorado for fracking.

On Tuesday, both Governor Hickenlooper and U.S. Senator Michael Bennet voiced their opposition to the plans and admonished the agency for its lack of public process.

Their letters came on the heels of comments submitted by Gunnison County and the Town of Paonia similarly blasting the Bureau of Land Management, its lack of public accountability, and the agency’s rush to auction public lands before doing any meaningful environmental reviews.

WildEarth Guardians also joined a coalition in pushing back against the agency’s proposal to sell public lands north of Denver and in the North Fork Valley in western Colorado.

While the proposed sale also includes tens of thousands of acres of public lands in other parts of the state, including on the Roan Plateau, in North Park, and near Dinosaur National Monument, the Bureau of Land Management refused to prepare any environmental review or provide any further public involvement over selling these lands.

So far, the Bureau Land Management has had the audacity to defend its lack of public accountability, even going so far as to bluntly deny a request for public hearings submitted by WildEarth Guardians and others.

Ultimately, the Bureau of Land Management only seems to be galvanizing more and more resistance to selling public lands for fracking. And not just in Colorado, but throughout the American West.

With 3.9 million acres of our public lands on the auction block in 2018 in Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada Utah, and Wyoming, Americans across the west are pushing back harder than ever.

This isn’t just about defending our climate and keeping our fossil fuels in the ground where they belong, it’s about defending our priceless legacy of American public lands.

Will the Trump Administration and the Bureau of Land Management start listening and start taking seriously their responsibility to the American public? We’ll soon see.

About the Author

Jeremy Nichols | Former Climate and Energy Program Director, WildEarth Guardians

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