DENVER (CN) – Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and the Bureau of Land Management will violate environmental laws by permitting oil and gas drilling on 73,000 acres of the Roan Plateau Planning Area in west center Colorado, 20,000 acres of which the BLM recognizes as “potential wilderness,” 10 environmental groups claim in Federal Court.
Lead plaintiff the Colorado Environmental Coalition says the plateau provides habitat for mountain lions, bears, several endangered fish species, deer and elk. Plaintiffs claim hunting and fishing guides depend on the area for their livelihood. They say the BLM ignored public demand for sensitive management of the area by amending the Glenwood Springs Field Office’s Resource Management Plan in June 2007 to allow “aggressive oil and gas development” and leasing of “100% of the federal minerals within the Planning Area.”
The BLM plans to auction off “every unleased federal acre in the Roan Plateau Planning Area” for oil and gas drilling, on Aug. 14. Plaintiffs say the defendants have violated environmental laws to do so. They want the auction enjoined, and costs. Their lead counsel is James Angell with Earthjustice.