Carbondale resident Brandon Jones combined an epic outdoor adventure earlier this year with activism aimed at building awareness over the Trump administration's plan to shrink three national monuments. Jones bikepacked through parts of Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada as well as Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments in Utah from mid-April through the first week of May. "I guess I had been dreaming about and romanticizing a bike tour," he said. He tends to be more a backpacker and spends considerable time in wilderness, where mechanized uses aren't allowed. But he figured using a bike was the most practical [...]
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A federal judge dismissed the case of a lawsuit an energy company brought over the government's cancellation of oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide area, about two and a half months after a settlement was reached in the case. Wilderness Workshop staff attorney Peter Hart said in a news release that the dismissal of the case in a Sept. 4 order by U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn "is another day to celebrate in our long campaign to protect the Divide." From the standpoint of SG Interests, the company that brought the suit and notified Blackburn on Aug. [...]
Environmental groups are claiming victory after a legal challenge to the Bureau of Land Management's cancellation of 18 undeveloped oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide area west of Carbondale was formally dismissed by a federal court in Denver last week. U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn on Sept. 4 ordered the dismissal of the case, following an agreement earlier this summer between U.S. Interior Department officials and Houston-based SG Interests reimbursing the energy company $1.5 million for the canceled leases. Read Full Article >>
After an environmental review in 2016, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) cancelled 18 oil and gas leases owned by the company SG Interests. The company then filed a lawsuit, which was dismissed by a federal judge in Denver last week. It comes after a settlement in June in which the BLM agreed to pay SG $1.5 million. Peter Hart is staff attorney for Carbondale-based environmental group Wilderness Workshop; he said while there are still some development threats in Thompson Divide, this is major victory for the groups who worked to protect the area. Read Full Article >>
For twenty years, Congresswoman Diana DeGette has tried to pass a Colorado wilderness bill. Now she's trying again: Today, July 24, DeGette introduced the Colorado Wilderness Act of 2018, which would provide federal protection for wild spaces in Colorado. If it ever passes. While increasing demand for recreation and the importance of preserving open space remain key reasons for pushing the bill, the timing of its introduction this round was inspired by the president and his cabinet. “Public lands are under attack by the Trump administration. That’s why the sense of urgency of reintroducing this bill is even greater,” DeGette said [...]
The Colorado Wilderness Act began as the Citizen’s Wilderness Plan, developed by a group of concerned citizens who inventoried federal lands throughout the state to identify pristine lands that met the criteria for Wilderness designation. They met with local communities and other stakeholders to gather input. The proposal was modified after discussion and was presented to Congresswoman Diana DeGette. She agreed those lands required protection and introduced a bill to designate the areas as Wilderness, which is the strongest level of land protection in the country. The need for this protection has only grown as more people have moved or traveled [...]
Wilderness Workshop is hiring a full-time Conservation Director for its office in Carbondale, CO. Applicants should want to live in a small mountain town on the west slope of Colorado, engage in meaningful public lands conservation work at the local state and national level, wear flip-flops or ski-boots to work, and help direct and shape the future of public land conservation on the West Slope of Colorado. We’re a smaller, nimble organization that takes our mission to heart and our work very seriously. While we engage in national issues (think the Methane and Roadless Rules) our bread and butter is keeping the [...]
An EcoFlight trip above the heart of the Piceance Basin west of the Roaring Fork Valley sought to give various members of Colorado-based media groups perspective into a recently filed lawsuit that challenges 53 energy leases in Mesa and Garfield counties that were awarded by the Bureau of Land Management in 2016 and 2017. The lawsuit was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, a Denver nonprofit. There are three co-plaintiffs, one of which is the Carbondale-based nonprofit Wilderness Workshop, which describes itself as “the conservation watchdog of nearly 4 million acres of public lands in western Colorado.” The 53 lease [...]
ASPEN — The Trump administration is pushing to open more public land in Colorado for fossil fuel development, preparing to sell off access to minerals under 45,000 acres near a state park and bird habitat along the upper Colorado River. But the intensifying efforts by the federal Bureau of Land Management face resistance. Conservation groups are fighting in federal court to block this leasing in already-drilled areas around De Beque, accusing the feds of skipping required environmental reviews. And in southern Colorado this week, Huerfano County commissioners began drafting a formal request to the BLM to delay the proposed leasing of [...]
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced Friday that it will pay an oil and gas company $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed after the agency, under the Obama administration in 2016, cancelled 18 leases to drill in the Thompson Divide area near Carbondale. The government’s settlement, which will be finalized when Houston-based SG Interests receives the funds, means the leases cancellations, affecting 21,000 acres, will remain in effect. The BLM cancelled the leases after a years-long effort led by multiple community groups that formed the Thompson Divide Coalition. The group challenged the validity of the leases and succeeded in [...]