Garfield County is taking the side of industry in its formal comments to the Bureau of Land Management as part of the federal agency’s review of 65 existing oil and gas leases on the White River National Forest.

County commissioners, on a 2-1 vote Monday, backed one of the five alternatives being considered by the BLM that would not cancel any leases but modify eight leases that were deemed inconsistent with a 1993 U.S. Forest Service leasing plan.

“Garfield County remains concerned that an administrative error affecting a few leases is causing significant disruption to the orderly development of 65 existing leases,” the county states in its letter to BLM Field Manager Karl Mendonca.

“Should adverse actions be taken to cancel leases or retroactively apply costly stipulations, property rights and longstanding investments to develop these and nearby leases … are at significant risk,” says the county in backing Alternative 2 in the BLM’s draft environmental impact statement reviewing leases issued under the 1993 leasing plan.

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