In November, Colorado TU and other conservation partners joined oil and gas companies and the Bureau of Land Management to announce a major settlement of the long-standing litigation over oil and gas development on and around the Roan Plateau in northwest Colorado. The deal strikes a true balance for protecting fish, wildlife, and wilderness lands and allowing responsible energy development. At its core is an agreement to keep drilling off areas that, as Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell put it, are "too special to develop" - including native cutthroat watersheds atop the Roan - while allowing more timely movement to develop other areas that are less sensitive but can help meet our nation's future energy needs.
Reaching an agreement required outside of the box thinking - and that doesn't happen without political will and support from key elected officials and governmental leaders. That's why CTU has taken out an ad in the 12/21 Grand Junction Daily Sentinel to thank some of the key governmental leaders whose support and hard work made the Roan agreement possible - Congressman Scott Tipton, Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, Governor John Hickenlooper, and BLM Director Neil Kornze. You can see a higher-resolution PDF version of the ad here, and read more about the Roan agreement here.
Not only is the agreement good news for the Roan as one of Colorado's best wild places, it can be a model for future efforts in other regions of the state. The BLM has tools, notably their master leasing plan process, that can allow for early dialogue among diverse interests to better understand the key resources at stake - and to use that dialogue to find balanced solutions that protect important watersheds from disturbance while enabling leasing and development to proceed responsibly in other appropriate sites. Looking at that broader landscape level makes it easier to find those balance points, respecting the importance of both energy development and fish and wildlife conservation. CTU hopes to continue working with BLM, industry, and conservation partners to make master leasing plans successful in other key areas for Colorado sportsmen, including North Park and South Park.