One year ago, Colorado TU and other conservation interests reached a settlement with the Bureau of Land Management and energy companies on the long-standing dispute over natural gas development on the Roan Plateau.  The Plateau is home to rare native cutthroat trout populations, strong mule deer herds – and significant energy reserves.  The settlement agreement embodied a balanced approach, with leases canceled (and the holders reimbursed) for sensitive habitats including all native trout watersheds while leases were retained and planned for responsible development on less sensitive lands.  It was a deal that worked for sportsmen, conservationists and the energy industry: you can learn more by reading our blog post here and by reading an op-ed piece penned by representatives CTU and Bill Barrett Corporation.

While the BLM was part of the settlement, and did follow through on cancelling and refunding the leases on prime habitats atop the Roan, last year they were not able to commit to a longer-term solution for the Roan that will allow responsible development to proceed while not issuing any new leases on those more sensitive lands of greatest concern to hunters and anglers.  Now, the BLM is completing their new Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Roan and we need them to finish the job we started last year and formally adopt the settlement alternative.

You can help by signing our petition to BLM Director Neil Kornze, asking him to support this balanced solution for the Roan and to use similar approaches in planning for other high-value habitats like South Park.

The Roan settlement was a “win-win” solution that achieved a balanced approach to conservation and energy development. It lays out a pathway for responsible energy development on appropriate lands, while not drilling on sensitive lands that are, as Secretary of the Interior Jewell put it, “too special to develop.”  But the job isn’t done until the settlement terms are incorporated by BLM into its final management plan.  By signing our petition, you add your voice to those calling on BLM to embrace this balanced solution for the Roan.  And you can join us in encouraging BLM to bring a similar thoughtful approach to planning for other high-value lands like those in South Park, so that responsible energy development can proceed while avoiding impacts to our most treasured lands and waterways.

The Roan Settlement is a great example of what we can accomplish when differing interests sit down and engage in respectful dialogue and negotiation. We can have both responsible energy development and conservation of our fish and wildlife heritage – indeed, we should expect nothing less.  Please join us in asking BLM to finish the job in adopting this balanced solution for one of Colorado’s iconic places and for the native trout and wildlife that call it home.

David Nickum

Colorado TU Executive Director