Boebert says field work makes her most qualified to comment on natural gas
Republican has been a critic of BLM draft plan that could close off Eagle County to future natural gas development
Calling herself the only current member of Congress who has done fieldwork in natural gas production, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert has spoken out against a Bureau of Land Management draft resource management plan that could close off Eagle County to future natural gas development.
The draft plan was initially released in 2015, presenting to the public a choice of four alternatives for allocating lands as open or closed for oil and gas leasing. Subsequent lawsuits from environmental groups resulted in the BLM preparing two more alternatives in a draft supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, released Aug. 3.
Both the new alternatives would close off sites identified as having low and medium-level potential for oil and gas development and were removed from the future leasing areas being contemplated.
Near Dotsero, in the portion of Boebert’s district that encompasses Western Eagle County, lands along the Eagle River and the Colorado River have been identified as having medium-level potential.
Boebert, in a September letter, said the BLM is basing its analysis of the oil and gas potential on out-of-date information.
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“What was once medium- or low potential in these and other areas can turn out to be high potential,” according to the letter, which was also signed by Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington, Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas, and Reps. Doug Lamborn and Ken Buck of Colorado.
Much of the area of suggested importance, according to the letter, is known as the Mancos shale zone, which was named for the town of Mancos.
The Mancos shale in the Piceance Basin of Colorado, according to a 2016 assessment from the U.S. Geological Survey, contains an estimated mean of 66 trillion cubic feet of shale natural gas, 74 million barrels of shale oil and 45 million barrels of natural gas liquids.
“By reducing access to the promising Mancos shale, this administration hopes to ensure that it is not likewise explored, and its true potential revealed,” according to Boebert’s letter. “It is a political play meant to further restrict access to the oil and natural gas development that could reinvigorate the economy of the West Slope of Colorado and help ensure energy security for all Americans.”
In a follow-up statement to the Vail Daily, Boebert referenced the Mancos shale in her district, saying it’s not as productive as it once was.
“CO-03 is an energy-rich district and is home to the 2nd largest shale basin in North America and the Western Bureau of Land Management HQ,” she said. “Colorado’s West Slope used to have a booming energy production economy. I remember because the roughnecks used to come to my restaurant, and I knew we had a good day when the mud from their boots covered my floors. There used to be 112 rigs on the West Slope, but now we have 4 rigs. Now, not in my backyard extremists and leftist Democrat policies have driven away those good-paying jobs.”
Boebert said the United States makes the cleanest energy in the world.
“In fact, our natural gas is 42% cleaner than Russian gas,” she said. “American innovation, in particular fracking, has allowed America to be the global leader in reducing emissions since 2000. We need to stop buying oil and gas from Russia, stop begging OPEC, Venezuela, and even Iran to produce energy for us, and start producing more energy responsibly in America.”
Still a conflict?
Boebert has been accused of having a conflict of interest related to the oil and gas industry from her ex-husband, Jayson Boebert, who earned a high salary working for Terra Energy Partners, which owns more than 5,500 natural gas wells in Boebert’s congressional district.
Boebert “failed to disclose that her husband worked for an energy consulting firm even as she pushed for looser regulations on oil and gas drilling as a member of the House Natural Resources Committee,” Salon.com reported.
But those accusations of impropriety occurred in 2020 and 2021, while Lauren and Jayson Boebert were married. The couple’s divorce became final on Oct. 10 following a court hearing in Grand Junction.
In a statement to the Vail Daily about her experience in the oil and gas industry, Lauren Boebert did not address Jayson Boebert’s work, instead touting her own credentials.
“I am the only current member of Congress to work in natural gas production in the field,” she said. “I worked as a natural gas product technician, GIS technician, and pipeline integrity coordinator.”
Comments through Nov. 1
The BLM is currently taking public comment on the issue through Nov. 1.
“The BLM is particularly interested in feedback concerning the adequacy and accuracy of the new management alternatives and the analysis of environmental consequences,” the agency said in a statement.
The draft supplemental Environmental Impact Statement can be read by visiting eplanning.blm.gov.
You may submit comments electronically on the project website: go.usa.gov/xtrgf; or you can mail or hand deliver comments to BLM Upper Colorado River District, Attn: Supplemental EIS, 2518 H Road, Grand Junction, CO, 81506.
To facilitate analysis of comments and information submitted, the BLM strongly encourages you to submit comments in an electronic format.
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