The BLM listened; now the community must inform itself |

The BLM listened; now the community must inform itself

We’ve been given a second chance, and, for that, we’d like to thank the Bureau of Land Management.

Last week, the BLM announced that 31,000 acres of Grand County land has been taken out of the oil and gas lease sale, originally scheduled for this week ” Nov. 8.

The decision was made after the BLM received letters of protest or concern from the Division of Wildlife regional office, from Trout Unlimited, the towns of Winter Park, Fraser, Grand Lake, Hot Sulphur Springs, Granby and the county commissioners, as well as a number of area residents.

After the parcels were removed from the sale, Jim Sample, a BLM public affairs spokesperson at the state office in Lakewood, said the decision was made because Grand County residents “felt like it was all moving too fast.”

Pulling the parcels off the market is most likely temporary. The BLM could put the acreage back in the pot as early as the next sale in February, or postpone it for a year or longer, depending what comes out of environmental analyses and other studies related to the protests.

Fortunately, we have between now and then to inform ourselves as a community about the land itself and about the effects possible oil and gas exploration would have on that land and surrounding residents.

In the protest letters sent to the BLM, Grand County residents said they felt they did not have enough information and had not received adequate notification.

And, on the Opinion page of this newspaper, we expressed the same concern ” that the BLM had been too “discreet” in its advertisement of this sale.

Well, the BLM listened to those concerns and it is now our responsibility to take advantage of the extra time.

Those who would like to see this land protected from oil and gas exploration have been granted a reprieve ” not a victory.

Instead, we should merely see this experience as a wake-up call.

The lesson should be that we should not rely on others to keep us informed. Instead, we should work to keep ourselves informed.

Though we have been running small maps of the parcels that were up for oil and gas lease sale in the newspaper, they were just that ” small.

There is a topographic map of the parcels that were up for sale available for study at the Granby Public Library and at Granby Town Hall.

Also, we would encourage the governments of Grand County and interested individuals to subscribe to the notification service provided by the BLM.

For $5 per quarterly sale, and $5 for each sale result, the BLM will automatically send those who are registered a copy of the lease sale notification. A minimum of $50 is required to establish an account, which will be used as a declining debit account.

To subscribe, call (303) 239-3600.

The next sale is scheduled for Feb. 14, 2008. The sale notice posting date is Dec. 20 and the protest deadline is Jan. 30, 2008.

Though there is nothing in the works for public meetings, Granby Mayor Ted Wang said his town would be happy to host a county-wide meeting to discuss the future of the issue.

Watch the pages of this newspaper for more information as future land sales unfold.

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