BLM OKs drilling on Colorado’s Roan Plateau, new grazing rules blocked

Steamrolling the opinions of various Colorado politicians, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has OK’d oil and gas drilling on 73,602 acres of the Roan Plateau, known to be rich in both underground fossil fuels and aboveground wildlife. Two of Colorado’s Democratic representatives had asked the BLM for a one-year moratorium on drilling in the area, and Governor Bill Ritter (D) had asked that the decision be postponed 120 days — to no avail. “Unfortunately, the BLM’s rush to lease this special area could inhibit my ability to weigh in on this extremely important decision,” said a bitter Ritter. But lest you fear that the BLM can muscle its way into whatever it wants, take heart: a judge recently blocked the agency from loosening restrictions on livestock grazing on 160 million acres of federal land. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill declared that the new regulations violated several federal environmental laws and were a result of giving in to pressure from Big Ranching.