BLM issues drilling leases for Colo. Roan Plateau |

BLM issues drilling leases for Colo. Roan Plateau

DENVER, Colorado ” Federal land managers have taken another step toward opening public land for natural gas development on Colorado’s scenic Roan Plateau, issuing drilling leases on about 55,000 acres.

Opponents immediately asked a federal court to block the move.

The Bureau of Land Management issued the leases on Monday, six weeks after an auction that generated nearly $114 million. The BLM said it had resolved the 15,000 protests filed by opponents.

Environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the drilling plan earlier. On Monday, they asked a court to block the leases while their lawsuit works its way through the courts.

The BLM says the leases will yield nearly 1.8 million cubic-feet of natural gas over 20 years. Drilling can’t begin until after environmental analyses and public planning.

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