The Bureau of Land Management has announced that it is reopening environmental review on its plan for development on and around the Roan Plateau near Rifle. The new review comes following a legal victory by Colorado TU and other conservationists, where the federal District Court found that the BLM had not properly reviewed environmental impacts and considered alternatives that would have been more protective of the Roan. The Roan has special significance for trout conservation (click to read more) because it harbors rare populations of native Colorado River cutthroat trout, including in Trapper Creek where TU volunteers from the Grand Valley Anglers have conducted projects to benefit native trout habitat. The Roan also supports outstanding big game habitat including key mule deer areas.
Through scoping, the BLM solicits public input on the types of issues and impacts they should address in their environmental review, as well as the alternatives they should consider. One of Colorado TU's main criticisms of the original, flawed Roan Plateau plan was BLM's failure to consider alternatives that would have allowed for energy development while better protecting the Roan's outstanding fish and wildlife resources - for example, through greater use of directional drilling to avoid disturbances in more sensitive habitats. The new process gives BLM - and all of us - a second chance to "get it right" for the Roan.
The Denver Post added its voice to the chorus calling for a more balanced approach to development on the Roan Plateau in a recent editorial.
You can also add your voice! As part of scoping, BLM will be hosting two public meetings (each run as open house formats from 4 to 7 pm):
- Feb. 27 in Silt at the Colorado River Valley Field Office, 2300 River Frontage Road;
- Feb. 28 in Grand Junction at the Clarion Inn 755 Horizon Dr.
You can also submit comments electronically by emailing to: firstname.lastname@example.org by March 30.