Federal agency releases final EIS on 65 contested leases

The Bureau of Land Management released a preferred alternative on a final environmental impact statement Friday that moves to cancel 25 oil and gas leases in the controversial Thompson Divide area near Carbondale.

Of 65 total contested leases both inside and outside of the Divide, the preferred alternative would also apply new stipulations to existing oil and gas leases that are not currently producing, and only make minor adjustments — or none at all — for producing leases, the BLM notes in its decision.

“The BLM’s proposed action strikes the right balance in land management,” said Ruth Welch, BLM Colorado state director, in a prepared statement. “It respects last year’s decision by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to maintain the character of the White River National Forest while also facilitating oil and gas development.”

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