Thursday, June 28, 2012

Court Strikes Down Bush Administration BLM Plan to Drill on Roan Plateau

55,000 acres of Colorado pristine land protected for now

Earth Justice

June 25, 2012
Denver, CO — 

One of Colorado’s richest environmental and wildlife gems, the Roan Plateau, has a new lease on life thanks to a federal court ruling Friday setting aside a BLM plan that would have allowed oil and gas companies to drill thousands of wells on 55,000 acres of the Roan.

The ruling, by U.S. District Judge Marcia S. Krieger in Denver, sets aside a resource management plan approved in 2007 during the Bush administration that would have sacrificed for oil and gas development some of North America’s rarest plants, genetically pure cutthroat trout, tens of thousands of acres of wilderness-quality land, and crucial habitat for prize herds of elk and deer. BLM had acknowledged that drilling the Roan would cause permanent and irreversible losses to native trout populations and rare plant species, and also that wilderness-quality lands and opportunities for backcountry recreation would be permanently destroyed.

Judge Krieger ruled that BLM’s plan should be set aside because the agency failed to consider a more balanced alternative that would have better protected the Roan’s wildlife, plants and pristine lands. In addition, the Court ruled, BLM failed to take a hard look at the air pollution that would result from drilling the Roan.
“The Roan Plateau is one of Colorado’s richest environmental and wildlife gems,” said Earthjustice attorney Michael Freeman. “The Court’s ruling means that the Roan will get a second look and hopefully preserved.”

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