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Release Date: 03/08/12
Contacts: Shannon Borders, 970-240-5399    

BLM releases preliminary environmental assessment for proposed North Fork Valley oil and gas leases (03-08-12)

MONTROSE, Colo.-The BLM Uncompahgre Field Office today released a preliminary environmental assessment (EA) analyzing the proposed sale of oil and gas leases on 22 parcels including 29, 812 acres of public mineral estate in the North Fork Valley.

The EA analyzes whether or not the parcels are offered for competitive oil and gas leasing to allow private individuals or companies to explore and develop federal oil and gas resources in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. There are three alternatives offered within the EA including offering all of the nominated parcels for sale, offering a subset of the parcels for sale or not offering any parcels at this time

“The BLM has implemented a thorough and public review of oil and gas leasing, and we appreciate the input and information the public provided during this process,” said Barbara Sharrow, BLM Uncompahgre Field Manager. “Now, we encourage the public to review the preliminary environmental assessment and provide us with your comments on the proposed action.”

Based on input from the public and the environmental analysis by the BLM, stipulations and lease notices have been proposed in the preliminary EA to address environmental impacts. These protections include, but are not limited to:
• Protection for steep slopes
• Protection of municipal watershed and public water supplies
• Protection for existing and future coal development
• Protection of threatened and endangered species
• Protection of air quality
• Protection for crucial deer and elk winter ranges
• Limits to impacts from motorized and mechanized use
• Protection from noise caused by operations

The EA is available for public review online and at the Montrose Public Lands Center.  Written comments must be submitted online at or by mail to BLM, Uncompahgre Field Office, 2465 S. Townsend Ave., Montrose, CO  81401.  Comments are due by Friday, April 6, and are most effective when comments refer to specific parcels and the associated resources on the parcel.  For technical support for online comments, please call 970-240-5436. 
Additional lease sale information can be obtained online at, one of the BLM’s field offices, or the BLM Colorado State Office Public Room, 2850 Youngfield St., Lakewood, CO.
The North Fork Valley area contains three active coal mines and 43 active oil and gas wells. Of the 259,200 acres of public mineral estate in the area, 124,078 acres are currently leased for development.  The leasing process provides a direct economic benefit from the collection of bids, bonus bids and rentals. 

In fiscal year 2010, extraction of energy and mineral resources from public lands nationally yielded $40 billion worth of resources, with an economic impact of $103 billion. In Colorado, FY 2010 public land energy and mineral resources yielded $3.7 billion, and $6.1 billion in total economic impacts to the state. Energy development is important in Colorado and accounted for 22,912 jobs along the Western Slope in fiscal year 2010. The State of Colorado received more than $178.6 million in fiscal year 2010 from royalties, rentals and bonus bid payments for all federal minerals, including oil, gas and coal.

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time.  While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. 

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 America’s 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.

  2465 South Townsend Avenue      Montrose, CO 81401  

Last updated: 03-08-2012