The Bureau of Land Management will offer 17 parcels totaling 17,632 acres in the Tres Rios Field Office at its Feb. 9, 2017, quarterly oil and gas lease sale.
The BLM will hold the lease sale online via www.energynet.com. Bidding will begin at 9 a.m. Mountain time. The BLM will offer one parcel in Archuleta County, five parcels in Dolores County, one in Montezuma County and 10 in San Miguel County.
The Montezuma County Parcel 7789 is on private land on Haycamp Mesa off Forest Road 556, south of the Dolores River and Taylor Mesa. The Haycamp parcel is split estate, meaning that the surface is private, but the minerals are owned by the federal government, which leases them for development through the BLM.
Several parcels in Dolores County were nominated along the boundary and within Lone Mesa State Park, 20 miles north of Dolores. The park is undeveloped and closed to the general public pending a management plan.
A previous parcel in a 2015 proposed lease sale on the western edge of the park was deferred by the BLM because of its proximity to the state nature preserve.
Lone Mesa Park manager Scot Elder said the Colorado Parks and Wildlife is negotiating with the BLM to defer the latest proposed lease parcels within the park.
“We have been working with the BLM on obtaining deferred status due to potential impacts of oil and gas development on the rare and unique resources in the park,” Elder said.
Energy development is not compatible with the park’s mission of preserving wildlife habitat and ecological values. Elder said an ideal solution would be a plan amendment to the Tres Rios BLM Resource Management Plan that makes the park ineligible for federal oil and gas leasing. Another concern is that Parcel 7796 is within the main entrance planned for the park off the Dolores-Norwood Road.
In San Miguel County, 11 parcels are proposed, including two in Disappointment Valley and Big Gypsum Valley, eight west of Miromonte Reservoir, and one north of Morrison Creek.
San Miguel County commissioners have protested lease sales due to environmental risks.
“We are very concerned that this lease sale is premature because of several ongoing planning amendment processes that are giving attention to and analyzing new information for Gunnison sage grouse and areas that meet the Areas of Critical Environmental Concern criteria,” wrote the county in a December letter to BLM.
In Archuleta County, one parcel was nominated southwest of Chromo.
Each lease, if issued, will contain stipulations and management practices designed to address air quality and water resources while ensuring safe development. As part of leasing reform, the BLM may modify lease stipulations to accommodate site-specific resources.
The environmental assessments, lists and maps of the parcels, and the attached stipulations of the lease sale are online at http://on.doi.gov/2fAHITp.
The state of Colorado receives 49 percent of the proceeds of each lease sale. In fiscal year 2015, Colorado received about $247 million from royalties, rentals and bonus bid payments for all federal minerals, including oil and gas. Statewide, more than 22,900 jobs are tied to mineral and energy development on public lands.
BLM Colorado holds oil and gas lease sales four times per year, as required by the Mineral Leasing Act, when eligible lands are available for leasing. Parcels are offered for lease on a rotating schedule among field offices to allow each office time to conduct environmental analysis. However, the BLM has the discretion to offer or defer any parcel during any sale.