Preferred alternative would cancel all leases on the Thompson Divide

The Bureau of Land Management unveiled a new preliminary preferred alternative for 65 contested oil and gas leases at a meeting in Silt on Wednesday. The preliminary decision would see all leases in the Thompson Divide area voided, providing a win for conservationists that have fought for the controversial area’s protection for years.

In a move that the agency sees as striking a balance between conservation and making oil and gas companies whole on their investments, 25 undeveloped leases in the Divide would be cancelled in their entirety, while the rest of the 65 would be covered under two proposed alternatives.

According to David Boyd, northwest Colorado public affairs officer for the BLM, the preferred alternative is a blend of alternatives in the draft Environmental Impact Statement issued last year.

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