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BLM’s Continued Assault of our Public Lands

Next Target: Chimney Rock National Monument and the HD Mountain Roadless Area

The Colorado State office of the Bureau of Land Management is furthering its interest in industrializing public and private lands surrounding Chimney Rock National Monument as well as further invading the 25,000 acre HD Mountain Roadless Area between Bayfield and Chimney Rock with the proposed leasing of more than four square miles of our national forest lands for natural gas extraction.

Your voice must be heard before Wednesday November 25th at 4:30 pm.

What’s Happening:

The BLM is proposing to sell ten-year leases of varied size parcels on mostly San Juan National Forest lands in March 2021. Of the ten proposed lease parcels totaling 2,500 acres, three are within one mile or less of Chimney Rock National Monument including the largest parcel of 2 ½ square miles which lies ½ mile south of the CRNM boundary (see map).

Click on the map to see a larger version.

When Chimney Rock gained National Monument status in 2012 through a Proclamation signed by President Obama there was vast public support for the its protected status from local citizens, Tribal Nations, regional governments and our congressional delegation. We can be assured that none of these CRNM champions envisioned a monument ringed by wellpads, pipelines, new roads, compressor stations, water extractors – you got it, an industrialized landscape.

The BLM has no obligation to lease these parcels for natural gas development as they can make the decision that the obvious negative impacts are insurmountable and cannot be mitigated.  The Chimney Rock National Monument Management Plan describes the Monument “as a treasure in the public lands’ system, containing spiritual, historic, and scientific resources of great value and significance.”  Natural gas field development adjacent to CRNM is obviously not a fit with the monument’s management plan. Learn more about the development in the HDs here. 

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The Bureau of Land Management is supposedly managing our public lands for the overall best purposing of these lands – do you want industrialization of lands surrounding Chimney Rock and pipelines through our Colorado Roadless Area? Or an intact landscape that honors this Ancestral Puebloan cultural landscape, important wildlife habitat including critical winter range for mule deer, massive old growth Ponderosa pine forests, quiet recreational trails and an intact watershed minus spills and fracking actions?

Personalize your comments.

Let the BLM know your thoughts and feelings through their E-Planning comment portal for the leasing proposal here . If you are having trouble submitting a comment phone BLM Communications Office at 303 239-3681 for assistance.


Talking Points

  • The entire lease sale should be terminated.


    • There are thousands of acres of previously sold and currently undeveloped lease parcels across the western United States in locales that are already developed or where natural gas development is more appropriate – we don’t need more, especially in the San Juan National Forest!!
    • The BLM has no obligation to lease these parcels
    • Chimney Rock National Monument, and its wealth of cultural, spiritual, historic, and scientific resources, must be protected from the threat of an industrialized landscape
    • Our Colorado Roadless Areas must be protected from the threat of new pipelines
    • This development threatens the HDs mountains, along with their their Ancestral Puebloan cultural landscape, important wildlife habitat, critical winter range for mule deer, massive old growth Ponderosa pine forests, & quiet recreational trails


You must comment through the BLM’s comment portal

Click here to make a comment


  • Matt Young says:

    I sent in my comment! Here is what I wrote:

  • Matt Young says:

    I submitted my comment on the BLM website! Here is what I wrote:

    To Whom It May Concern,

    As a lifelong La Plata county resident, I am writing to urge the abandonment of all lease sales within the Chimney Rock and HD Mountain areas and chose the No Action Alternative. The BLM has failed to offer a compelling reason why these lease sales must proceed and why encouraging large scale drilling projects in these areas is necessary or desirable. The proposed regions hold immense cultural and historical significance, are within designated Colorado Roadless Areas, are crucial big-game wintering grounds/migration routes, and have lots of outdoor recreational value. The Proposed Action will undoubtedly harm these aspects, and that these considerations were dismissed from detailed analysis is baffling. Additionally, viewing only the GHG and climate change impact of an individual well is flawed since the overall accumulation of GHGs and climate change impacts of all wells combined creates the issue. Therefore, each well must be considered a contributor to overall GHG emission and climate change. The prevention of many individual gas projects over time and on a mass scale is necessary to address potential devastating climate change consequences. Considering these negative impacts, the current historic slump in natural gas prices, the glut of inventory, and the thousands of drilling leases that the BLM has already sold, which now sit undeveloped, it is remarkably difficult to justify pursuing these lease sales.

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment,

    Matt Young

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