Time extension request granted for Roan Plateau plan
DENVER – Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has granted the state’s request for more time to review and comment on a federal plan authorizing nearly 1,600 new wells on the Roan Plateau in western Colorado.The decision means Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., will drop his hold on Kempthorne’s nomination of James Caswell as director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.Salazar officially blocked the nomination after the Interior Department rejected Gov. Bill Ritter’s request for more time to study the BLM’s management plan for the Roan Plateau. BLM officials said the plan, the final version of which was released in June, has gone through more than six years of review and public comments.Ritter, who took office in January, said he wanted more time to review the plan because of the Roan Plateau’s importance to the state. The landmark, about 180 miles west of Denver, is prized for its abundant wildlife and pockets of pristine backcountry and its large reserves of natural gas and oil shale.The BLM’s plan authorizes up to 1,570 new wells over the next 20 years on 73,602 acres of federal land. Of those, up to 210 wells drilled from 13 well pads would be allowed. The agency would consider wells as companies submit drilling permits.
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