Thursday, February 09, 2006

Understanding Gas Leases

Today the Bureau of Land Management in Colorado is auctioning off the right to extract natural gas from 159,246 acres of public land. It's the largest sale ever in the state, but only one in a string of auctions in the great Republican-sponsored natural resources barbecue that has been sweeping over the west in the last five years, selling leases on 8 million acres a year. That's an area the size of Maryland every twelve months!
If you want to know what a gas lease means to the land, look at the Roan Plateau, above. Every white spot on what was a few years ago a roadless area is a well.
OK, sure, I burn natural gas, you burn natural gas. We need natural gas.
But this is all happening very quickly and few people know much about it.
So, since much of this drilling is taking place in public lands that we use for biking and hiking and hunting, take a minute to educate yourself:
BLM can give you rules and regulations, but for a somewhat more to-the-point take, visit the Environmental Working Group's site, Who Owns the West?.

If you want to see some of the places in the sale,
click here.

Roan Plateau is already being drilled. Take a look at what this once roadless plateau looks like now.

I'd like to stress, this is an outdoor news blog, not an opinion blog. So how you process this information and what you do with it is up to you. Happy Trails.


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