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Sides weigh in on drilling options on Roan Plateau

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 29, 2013 at 7:57 pm •  Published: March 29, 2013

DENVER (AP) — Conservationists say a judge's ruling has given the U.S. Bureau of Land Management a chance to cancel oil and gas leases on parts of the Roan Plateau that are especially environmentally sensitive.

The oil and gas industry, meanwhile, contends the judge's ruling doesn't require a vast overhaul.

It's the latest back and forth between the two sides as the BLM re-examines its plans for energy development on the biologically rich plateau, which also holds the potential for more energy development that could boost jobs and tax revenues for western Colorado communities.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger ruled last year that the BLM didn't fully consider impacts on air quality, potential ozone impacts, and a proposal that would've left much of the plateau's top undisturbed when it approved a drilling plan. However she let existing oil and gas leases on the soaring plateau remain, saying it's possible the BLM could stick with its previous drilling plan even after it takes a second look.

The agency is planning to write a new supplemental environmental impact statement on drilling, but first, it gave the public until Saturday to offer comments.

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