Colorado wilderness proposal includes drilling battleground |

Colorado wilderness proposal includes drilling battleground

GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado – Rep. Diana DeGette’s new wilderness proposal includes about 40,000 acres on top of western Colorado’s Roan Plateau, much of which has been leased for oil and gas development.

The Democrat’s draft bill released last week would designate 34 separate Colorado sites totaling 890,000 acres as federal wilderness. They would be off-limits to many activities, including drilling.

Federal officials last year approved oil and gas leases on nearly 55,000 acres on the Roan Plateau, including the top.

DeGette spokesman Kristofer Eisenla says the proposal would designate wilderness in valleys and on cliffs, where many of the proposed drilling sites are off roads that follow the tops of ridges.

Environmentalists are suing to block the drilling, saying the analysis of impacts was inadequate.

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