By Monte Whaley
|The Pawnee Buttes rise from the landscape at|
Pawnee National Grassland in northeast
Colorado. The site attracts birders, stargazers
and other nature lovers as well as oil and gas
companies eager to develop its riches. (Denver Post file)
Environmentalists are waking up to the fact that there is major oil and gas activity at the Pawnee National Grassland, and they vow not to let another huge exploration venture go without comment.
"There is fire in our belly," said Judy Enderle, executive director of the Denver-based Prairie Preservation Alliance. "This is precious shortgrass prairie and it must be protected."
The U.S. Forest Service, which manages the 193,000-acre grassland along the Wyoming border between Greeley and Sterling, is preparing to send out scoping letters advising landowners, environmental groups, American Indian tribes and anyone else with an interest in the Pawnee that trucks that pound the ground looking for deposits of oil and natural gas will roll again this this year.
When the agency sent similar notification last year, 60 letters and advertising in the Greeley Tribune yielded only four responses, including one from the Colorado Audubon Society, said Forest Service spokeswoman Reghan Cloudman.
The Pawnee is so far off the beaten path that it could slip off the radar screen for many people, Cloudman said.
"The Pawnee is far away from any large residential area, and the landowners out there are used to a lot of activity," she said.
This is NO LONGER America... Our Constitution needs to be amended immediately to favor the environment and not industry. For without the environment, we have nothing.