MESA COUNTY, Colo. Oil and gas industry professionals and environmental protection groups are stuck in a game of tug-of-war and the Bureau of Land Management is the rope being pulled back-and-forth between them.
An appeal approved back in 2007 made it so the BLM has to do their own environmental impact statements instead of using ones already done by the forest service; and now controversial requests for drilling in the Thompson Divide brought the issue back up to a head.
"This is the very beginning of a multi-year process," says BLM spokesman David Boyd. "At the end of it we'll have a decision that either affirms the 65 leases, so keeps them the way they are, modifies them, or it could cancel them."
Thursday BLM held their fourth scoping meeting for this particular issue, the first three took place in the Roaring Fork Valley.
While most people at this most recent meeting were against cancelling those leases, a majority of the 500+ people who attended the first three were pushing the BLM to cancel them.