BLM ANNOUNCES WITHDRAWAL OF ALL 20 NORTH FORK VALLEY PARCELS FROM THE FEBRUARY 2013 LEASE SALE (Press Release 2.06.13)
Today, the Bureau of Land Management announced the deferral of all 20 parcels in the North Fork Valley from the February 2013 oil and gas lease sale. In a release, the agency announced that the parcels would be addressed through ongoing planning efforts at the local BLM Uncompahgre Field Office.
“On behalf of North Fork Valley farmers, ranchers, and residents, we would like to thank the BLM for making the right decision! We applaud the agency for slowing down and taking a closer look at the severe impacts of drilling on the vibrant local economy of this rural community,” said Jim Ramey, Director of Citizens for a Healthy Community.
Citizens for a Healthy Community and the Western Environmental Law Center spearheaded efforts in the community to ask the BLM to refrain from leasing public lands throughout the valley under a obsolete, decades-old management plan.
“There are some areas where oil and gas development doesn't fit, and the North Fork Valley is certainly one of those places,” said WELC attorney Kyle Tisdel. “Drilling rigs and fracking just aren’t compatible with organic farming, vineyards, and ranching.”
“Drilling in the North Fork Valley would destroy our sustainable local economy. The BLM’s decision today will help protect our ranching, farming, vineyard, and tourism jobs,” said Landon Deane, owner of the Eagle Butte Ranch in Paonia. Deane recently traveled to Washington, DC with other North Fork residents and business owners to ask the national BLM office to defer the parcels from the sale.
Like the previous deferral, announced in May 2012, the nominated parcels remain on the table and can be offered again for sale at any time by the BLM.
“In its upcoming management plan, the BLM will have to choose between severe drilling impacts and protecting our sustainable economy and jobs over the long-term” said Ramey. “The community is going to remain vigilant in efforts to put smart, protective management in place for the North Fork.”