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June 23, 2012 02:41 AM UTC

BREAKING-Roan Plateau Victory! Colorado Landmark to Get 'Second Look'

  • by: ClubTwitty

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

[Updated w/ Brief addition and photo] After nearly four years since these public lands were leased for oil and gas drilling in the waning days of the Bush administration against overwhelming public opposition, the Roan Plateau leases have been suspended.

The Bush-era plan they were based on has been sent back to the BLM, which will have to prepare additional analysis to bring it into compliance with the several laws the court found the Bush Roan Plan to violate.    

Dennis Webb, who has covered this story since its very beginning–as reporter and then editor of the Glenwood Post (or Independent…I cannot recall) when there were two local papers in Glenwood Springs–has the first story up in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.  

A federal judge has ruled in favor of conservation groups in their lawsuit…

The ten wildlife and conservation groups that were plaintiffs in the suit, represented by EarthJustice, made four claims–three of which were ruled upon favorably by the court.

The Sentinel article notes:  

In a 38-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Krieger ruled that the agency failed to adequately address an alternative that would have kept drilling off the plateau top by making use of directional drilling from surrounding lands. It also failed to sufficiently consider cumulative air quality impacts in conjunction with anticipated development on surrounding private land, or to adequately address ozone impacts.

Krieger’s order sets aside the BLM planning decision leading to the 2008 leasing and remands the matter back to the agency for further action.

Over the years I have written numerous diaries posted here among dusty gigabytes of data, on Roan Plateau and why it is such a special place.  It is a place, and an issue, very near and dear to my heart, one I have spent countless hours on.

This is a victory for Colorado.  For pure strains of native trout that find habitat there, for the outstanding recreational opportunities these popular pubic lands provide.  The bottom line is the Bush plan was illegal.  Now there will be another chance to work with the BLM to craft a sound and balanced plan for the Roan.  

So a toast!  To sending a bad plan back to the drawing board–and a hope to a better plan for the Roan Plateau that truly protects this remarkable treasure.  

Court ruling can be found here.  


18 thoughts on “BREAKING-Roan Plateau Victory! Colorado Landmark to Get ‘Second Look’

  1. As a 5th generation Coloradan with roots on the Eastern Plains and the Western Slope I vow to pay more for gas to keep My State pristine!  

  2. I, too, have sent information about this place all over the U.S. for years, and would really like to pop the cork on a champagne bottle. Sadly it will have to be virtual, I don’t want to end up like Marilyn!

  3. for thousands of Coloradoans and others who have tirelessly pressed for honesty and justice on the Roan Plateau.

    Coming so closely on the heels of the great success in getting the North Fork leases withdrawn, this turn of events is almost intoxicating. For many years, the view out my dining room window was filled up by the massive profile of the Roan Plateau. It is difficult to express the delight with which I greet the news about this very special place.  

    The almost criminal misconduct on the part  of the Bush BLM has been “refudiated”.

    Congratulations Colorado !!

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    1. Was around the first point, that the BLM failed to consider an alternative that allowed for leasing most/all (a ‘meaningful amount’) of the public lands but requiring directional drilling (no surface impacts) to access gas under the public lands on top and critical wildlife areas at the bottom.  

      The argument made, successfully, was that BLM never considered such an alternative, although it was presented to the agency and widely supported.  Thus a new plan will (presumably, if the agency reads the decision) have to at least fully consider and analyze this alternative, what is possible and what is likely to be possible given the rapidly advancing technologies, over the life of the 20-year planning framework.

      So, of course, as with all things of this sort–continued attention and engagement will be critical.  But this is good for Colorado.  

      Its good to show that communities can stand up and ask that this activity be reasonably balanced with the other values and uses of, and resources present, on the public lands.  And that they can win if they have a good case and well-run, persistent campaign.  

  5. I saw Jason mention it last night and whooped out loud in my office. A very, very good day indeed for Colorado.

    Thanks much for the details, Twitty and for all of your work on this throughout the years.  

    1. Cristo’s work will be temporary, and does not seem to have any environmental impact outlasting his project.

      The governments involved, who theoretically represent those who would be negatively affected by the construction and traffic, have all approved the plan now.  The BLM, BOR and others have all signed off on it.  The regional income will be beneficial if not overwhelming.  If you’re lucky, the nasty looking railroad cars won’t come back in and mar the canyon views once Cristo is gone (and, frankly, they look less obnoxious sitting out on the plains than they did in the canyon).

      I think the Arkansas looks great as it is, too, but I can’t fool myself into thinking it was some undeveloped pristine natural landmark – not with a highway, years-old railroad tracks, and the ruins of old mineworks and other things every now and again.

      1. I agree with you about the beneficial impact of Christo. And, because I worked on another of his projects 20 years ago I know the ipact continue even afte rthe project is over. This might well be Christo’s las project and that alone will ake it worth more.

        Additionally, counties get revenue from railroads for every day a car is parked in their county. Too bad the railroads don’t care enough about the appearance of their property to paint them

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