Thursday, August 14, 2008


Gov. Bill Ritter issued the following statement criticizing today's auctioning of more than 55,000 acres on the Roan Plateau by the Bush Administration's Bureau of Land Management:
"For more than a year, the oil and gas industry and some politicians have claimed that a Roan Plateau lease sale would generate proceeds of up to $2 billion. Today, we learned just how wrong and over-exaggerated those claims were.
"Today is a sad day for Colorado. It's a missed opportunity – one we will never get back, one that falls squarely on the shoulders of the Bush Administration, which is rushing through bad fiscal policy in its waning days. The BLM's decision to lease the entire top of the Roan Plateau all at once has severely shortchanged Colorado citizens. The federal government has done a tremendous disservice to our state and to every Western Slope community impacted by drilling.
"It's a missed opportunity to help local communities address impacts to roads, schools, water supplies and essential services. It's a missed opportunity for Colorado universities and Colorado college students. It's a missed opportunity for every community trying to create sustainable economies and sustainable futures for their children, residents and local businesses.
"Late last year, my Administration proposed a phased leasing strategy that would have maximized the value of the natural-gas resource beneath the Roan over a longer period of time. We reiterated the phased leasing approach in a protest filed with the BLM last month. We warned that an all-at-once lease sale would result in vastly undervalued bids. Unfortunately, those predictions turned out to be true.
"Phased leasing would have resulted in substantially higher bids for two reasons. First, phased leasing would have allowed the state to receive higher revenues as the price of natural gas increased. Second, phased leasing would have allowed each ridge to recognize its present value, without the deep discount we saw today reflecting the fact that certain parcels will not be developed for many years to come.
"I remain committed to responsible energy development in Colorado. We are doing our part, and we will continue to do our part to supplyAmerica's energy needs. By the end of this year, we will have issued more than 7,000 new drilling permits, compared with 1,000 issued in 1999. But the fact remains -- today's auction was anything but responsible."