The clock is ticking on gas leases |

The clock is ticking on gas leases

Dear Editor:

Today I am writing you to call upon the Bureau of Land Management to let leases within the Thompson Divide expire. While I don’t challenge the legality of leases held within the Thompson Divide, I believe it is time to let these leases end in an unchallenged and legal manner.

Oil and gas leases are auctioned off by the BLM under the condition that efforts are undertaken to develop the lease within 10 years. If you undertake exploration and development efforts, you’re able to retain the lease. If you fail to begin development within 10 years, however, you lose it.

SG Interests, a Texas-based developer, failed to move forward with developing its leases, in the Thompson Divide, for the first nine years. These leases expire in May. Now, in the eleventh hour, they’ve applied for suspensions to “stop the clock” on their leases. Unfortunately, suspension requests are usually given a rubber-stamped approval by the BLM without a vigorous public dialogue process.

We all know where and what the Thompson Divide is. We all also know what terminal devastation the oil companies leave behind.

Everything possible must be done to make sure the leases expire, therefore saving this unique, pristine area. It must be kept “forever wild.”

I urge interested members of the public to attend the Pitkin County commissioners for public meeting about the issue of drilling in the Thompson Divide. The meeting takes place at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Carbondale Town Hall. This is our chance to stand as a community to voice a common belief: Let the leases expire.

Carol Duell


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