BLM discusses oil & gas leasing process with public
December 9, 2016
Representatives from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) and the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) spoke to citizens at the Dec. 6 BOCC (Board of County Commissioners) meeting about potential Oil and Gas lease sales in Grand County. There were about 20 citizens in attendance.
There are currently no active wells in Grand County. There have been 59 permits issued in the past, but there is no record at all of oil or gas production in the County.
Marc Morton, a liaison from the COGCC gave a presentation about the history of the COGCC, locations of oil wells in the state, and provided general information about the COGCC, whose mission is to foster the responsible development of Colorado's oil and gas natural resources, according to their website.
Representatives from the BLM made clear that the leasing process was separate from development, and they were there mostly to explain and answer questions about the leasing process.
The BLM is responsible for managing the Federal Government's mineral reserves, and that is why they are in charge of oil and gas parcels.
If a company buys a parcel they have 10 years to develop it. If they do not do so within 10 years it can be re-nominated in the future. Parcels can be leased, but not developed. Some of the current parcels went up for lease in 2008 and the BLM deferred them because the Kremmling BLM office was working on their Resource Management Plan (RMP). The RMP identifies parcels that are available to be leased and states any restrictions that may apply to the area. If the owner of the lease decides they want to develop they apply for a permit to drill through the state. The BLM will then go through an Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate that particular well the owner applied for.
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Commissioner Jane Tollett asked why leases should be sold on such a sensitive area if the Colorado River. Several citizens then pointed out that the Colorado River is a vital source of drinking water and outdoor activities that Grand County relies on. Other concerns were about wildlife and general affects on the welfare of the Colorado River.
The representatives from the BLM said citizens must make a good resource based argument in the public comment for questions like this to be heard and possibly acted upon.
All public comments must be submitted by Dec. 12 and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the BLM White River Field Office, Attn: May 2017 Lease Sale, 220 E. Market Street, Meeker, CO 81641. Letters must be postmarked by Dec. 12.