Roan protesters deliver message of opposition to BLM |

Roan protesters deliver message of opposition to BLM

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox/Post IndependentProtesters present more than 1,600 letters to Steve Bennett of the Glenwood Springs BLM field office Wednesday morning.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” More than 30 people marched from Gregory Park in West Glenwood Springs to the nearby local Bureau of Land Management office Wednesday to hand over 17,000 letters protesting planned leasing of the Roan Plateau for oil and gas drilling.

“Basically we came to send a strong message to the BLM that most citizens in the state of Colorado as well as elected officials favor protecting the Roan Plateau,” said Joe Neuhof, with the Colorado Environmental Coalition.

Wednesday is the last day protests can be submitted to the BLM. The march included a representatives of environmental groups, sportsmen, citizens and recreationalists interested in protecting the Roan Plateau. Local officials, including Glenwood Mayor Bruce Christensen, City Council member Kris Chadwick, Pitkin County Commissioner Jack Hatfield and Garfield County Assessor John Gorman, also took part.

The protest effort was mild-mannered and well organized.

The BLM’s Associate Field Manager Steve Bennett graciously accepted the letters of protest. He said the BLM would respond to the protests and send the results to a state BLM office, which would decide how to proceed. He said the protests could delay the planned Aug. 14 lease sale of about 55,200 acres of land on the Roan Plateau, an area north of Rifle, but a delay isn’t a foregone conclusion.

The BLM has said the lease won’t have any negative impact on recreational uses such as hunting and fishing on the Roan Plateau, and that the plan for phased development over time is an environmentally responsible way to allow energy development.

The BLM was expecting the protesters to arrive and had created a “First Amendment area” in the parking area to accommodate the crowd.

See Thursday’s Aspen Times for more on the protest.

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