CARBONDALE - A standing-room-only crowd is expected for Wednesday's public meeting in Carbondale on the proposed suspension of gas leases in Thompson Divide.
The discussion, hosted by Pitkin County, starts at 6 p.m. at Carbondale Town Hall. The event will begin with brief presentations from representatives of the county and from the two gas companies that have filed the suspension requests - SG Interests and Ursa Piceance LLC, as well as from spokespeople for Wilderness Workshop and the Thompson Divide Coalition, two local conservation groups that have joined area governments in fighting oil and gas development in Thompson Divide.
A local U.S. Forest Service official also is expected to attend, as is Steve Bennett, Bureau of Land Management field manager.
The bulk of the meeting will be devoted to hearing from members of the public, according to Pitkin County Commissioner George Newman. Commissioners discussed the format for Wednesday's discussion during their work session Tuesday.
"This is really a critically timed opportunity to weigh in on these lease extensions," Newman said.
The suspension requests, filed with the BLM, seek extension of gas leases that are scheduled to expire this year, starting in May.
The meeting will be broadcast live on the government channel that serves Glenwood Springs and taped for rebroadcast on CGTV in the upper valley, commissioners were told.
Newman said he is hoping the discussion attracts not only local and regional media attention but national attention, as well.