On January 8th, 2016, the Western Slope Conservation Center added its voice to the groundswell of community support to cancel all or part of the 65 leases issued without appropriate NEPA analysis since 1993 on the White River National Forest (WRNF), an area that includes the Thompson Divide. In our comment letter, we expressed our support for Alternative 4, the BLM’s Proposed Action, which would cancel all of part of 25 existing leases in areas identified by the WRNF Draft Record of Decision on future oil and gas leasing and modify existing lease stipulations in areas identified as open to future oil and gas development.
In August of 2016, the BLM proposed to cancel all 25 illegal oil and gas leases within the Thompson Divide. This not only would be a great victory for conservation of the Thompson Divide, which is at the top of our watershed, but it would also reduce the risk of the leases being exchanged for parcels closer to home.
For more information and updates, check out the Wilderness Workshop website: www.wildernessworkshop.org.
We also encouraged the BLM to take further steps to mitigate the environmental impacts that oil and gas development will have on water quality, air quality, riparian vegetation, sensitive plant species, and sensitive wildlife species for all leases that are not cancelled.
The Western Slope Conservation Center supports collaborative land management decision making which incorporates public input at each stage of the management process and engages all relevant local, state, and federal agencies in landscape-level planning. These types of processes will produce the best outcome for local communities, public health, and the plants and wildlife that depend on our public lands.