Although the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is tasked with managing our public lands for multiple use, fossil fuel extraction has long dominated public land use policy. Over the last couple of years we’ve worked hard to encourage the Tres Rios Field Office to utilize a relatively new planning tool, a Master Leasing Plan (MLP), to balance critical other public resources with that of oil and gas development in the region. Here in southwest Colorado that means agriculture, water resources, wildlife, recreation, Mesa Verde National Park and vast cultural resources deserving of protection.
Thanks to strong and consistent public support from many of you, the BLM has just announced that they will be pursuing an MLP. This local and inclusive effort is a powerful way to ensure local citizens and stakeholders are at the table creating a way for our public lands will be managed for everyone. We’ll be engaged in this process and letting you know how you can be involved as it moves forward. Thanks to everyone who made their voice heard in the process.
See the full press release below.
Bureau of Land Management Will Pursue a Master Leasing Plan
Durango, CO – After months of discussion and public input, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced it will pursue a Master Leasing Plan (MLP), a locally-driven, landscape level solution to balance the multiple uses of our public lands with respect to oil and gas development. The planning effort will encompass the western portion of La Plata County and eastern portion of Montezuma County.
Overwhelming public support helped drive the decision to pursue an MLP, which the Tres Rios Field Office will manage. Four public meetings garnered over a hundred comments, nearly unanimous in support of the process. Comments reflected concerns over protection of agriculture, water, wildlife, recreation, and cultural resources. Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, City of Cortez, La Plata County, Osprey Packs, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center also weighed in support of the process.
Public land use policy has for too long given preference to energy extraction, often at the cost of other resources. This planning tool is being implemented throughout the west and reflects a new way of managing fossil fuel extraction with respect to other values. The Tres Rios Master Leasing Plan ensures we will protect our most precious public lands, including Mesa Verde National Park, recreation opportunities and our agricultural and cultural heritage.
The important collaborative work that lies ahead gives us the opportunity to create a plan truly reflective of all the ways we value our public land. We are looking forward to the MLP process beginning early in 2017 with the appropriated funds currently available to support this community planning effort.
- Jimbo Buickerood, 970-560-1111, firstname.lastname@example.org