SILT, Colo. – The protest period for the Bureau of Land Management’s Proposed Colorado River Valley Field Office Resource Management Plan now ends May 5, about a week later than what was originally announced.
“The 30-day protest period officially begins when the Environmental Protection Agency publishes its notice in the Federal Register,” said Brian Hopkins, planning and environmental coordinator for the Colorado River Valley Field Office. “That notice was published today, kicking off the official protest period.”
On March 24 the Bureau of Land Management released the Proposed Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Colorado River Valley Field Office in northwestern Colorado. The proposed plan seeks to balance resource use with protecting sensitive resources.
The plan will provide a framework to guide subsequent management decisions on 505,200 surface acres and 707,200 acres of subsurface mineral estate administered by the BLM’s Colorado River Valley Field Office in Eagle, Garfield, Mesa, Pitkin, Rio Blanco and Routt counties for approximately the next two decades.
Key decisions in the Proposed RMP include designating approximately 675 miles of routes for motorized use and 587 miles for non-motorized use, managing five areas totaling 34,400 acres to protect existing wilderness characteristics, including Thompson Creek and Deep Creek; and recommending Wild and Scenic River designation for the two BLM segments of Deep Creek.
The majority of the 147,500 acres with high potential for oil and natural gas production within the Colorado River Valley Field Office are already leased and, under the Proposed RMP, will continue producing. The 98,100 acres closed to future oil and gas leasing in the Proposed RMP include State Wildlife Areas, areas managed for wilderness characteristics, municipal boundaries, suitable Deep Creek Wild and Scenic River segments and other designated recreation areas or areas of critical environmental concern.
The Proposed RMP is now available for a 30-day public protest period, which ends May 5, 2014. Information about the protest period is available at http://www.blm.gov/co/crvfo or by calling the Colorado River Valley Field Office at (970) 876-9000. The BLM has also sent the Proposed RMP to the Governor’s Office for a 60-day consistency review.
The BLM will issue a Record of Decision detailing the final decisions in the RMP after the consistency review and resolution of any protests.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of Americas public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.