Pitkin County on Monday evening threw its support behind a proposed action by the Bureau of Land Management concerning oil and gas leases in the White River National Forest that could wholly or partially close existing leases in the Thompson Divide.

Over 100 people braved wintry weather to attend a public meeting on a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) involving 65 existing oil and gas leases on the forest, including 25 in the Thompson Divide.

All who spoke supported the two options that would close leases in the environmentally sensitive Divide area.

Pitkin County Commissioner George Newman read a statement supporting alternative four, which he said met a fair balance. He noted that the county, during a scoping period this spring, called for the leases to be canceled in the Divide because of negative environmental and economic impacts, coupled with the poor prospects for the industry garnering financial returns.

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