Monday, June 9, 2008



Gov. Bill Ritter today issued the following statement in response to the federal Bureau of Land Management's decision to offer leases for oil-and-gas development on the Roan Plateau in August:
"My administration spent months crafting a bipartisan, uniquely Colorado plan that calls for phased leasing of the Roan over time. Phased leasing will provide a far greater value for the resources beneath the Roan. Instead, the BLM plans to lease the entire top of the Roan at one time.
"My administration's plan strikes a responsible balance that allows for the extraction of the vast amount of natural gas from the Roan, benefits our economy, and protects our communities, while minimizing environmental and wildlife impacts.
"While I appreciate the consideration given to this plan by the Department of Interior and BLM, they ultimately rejected it in March. That decision was disappointing then, and today's announcement by the BLM to lease the entire top of the Roan on Aug. 14 is equally disappointing.
"The BLM decision will vastly shortchange Colorado in several significant respects, including the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in lease bonus payments. Importantly, federal law currently prohibits the state from receiving any of the bonus payments if the Roan is leased this summer, even though its citizens will continue to bear the brunt of the impacts.
"U.S. Reps. Mark Udall and John Salazar and Sen. Ken Salazar have since proposed legislation modeled after my administration's plan. I support this legislation, and the BLM owes it to the people of Colorado to allow it to move through the legislative process before leasing the Roan.
"In addition, my administration will examine other options, including a formal protest, to oppose the August lease sale."