The US Bureau of Land Management issued oil and gas leases on the Roan Plateau in western Colorado on Sept. 29 after reviewing and dismissing protests of its Aug. 14 sale.
"While this is an important step, issuing these leases does not authorize drilling. Additional environmental analysis and public planning will occur prior to any drilling on the Roan Plateau," said C. Stephen Allred, Assistant US Interior secretary for land and minerals.
The lease sale culminated an eight-year, public planning effort by BLM, he noted. Legislation introduced by Colorado's congressional delegation in 1997 transferred Naval Oil Shale Reserves 1 and 3 on the plateau to the US Department of the Interior agency. BLM has worked with local and state governments, constituent groups and the public to craft one of the most environmentally sensitive resource management plans in the agency's history, Allred said.
BLM noted that the $113.9 million onshore federal lease sale was more than twice the previous $53 million peak and more than 10 times the previous Colorado record of $10 million.
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