Protecting the Colorado River Valley From Fossil Fuel Development

Through the Colorado River Valley Resource Management Plan, the Bureau of Land Management opened up 147,000 acres to oil and gas leasing without any analysis of climate change or impacts to human health and the environment. WELC represents Wilderness Workshop, Western Colorado Congress, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club in a challenge to this bad plan.

BLM projects 4,198 wells will be drilled and associated facilities and infrastructure will be developed. The planning area stretches from Vail in the east most of the way to Grand Junction in the west and from near Steamboat Springs in the north to Aspen in the south.

In the environmental impact statement for the plan, BLM failed to consider the full effects of oil and gas combustion emissions and the costs that the full spectrum of oil and gas emissions impose on society; failed to quantify the scale of methane pollution from oil and gas emission sources and underestimated by an order of magnitude the global warming potential of such emissions; failed to consider the full effect that oil and gas development has on human health and on the communities affected by the industrialization of our public lands; and failed to consider any alternatives that meaningfully reduce the lands made available for oil and gas leasing, or measures to control the timing, pace, and scale of such development.

We won the case, forcing BLM to revise its environmental impact statement. We will monitor the situation and are prepared to challenge any revision that falls short of the laws that protect public health, the climate, and public lands.

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