We have been reading the letters on the federal government's inquiry into opening up 30,000 acres surrounding the North Fork to oil and gas development. It seems that many people are very concerned and that the organizations Citizens for a Healthy Community and The Conservation Center are doing a very comprehensive job in requesting withdrawal of the parcels from leasing.
It also seems that ideas like the ones Tom Kay had in his letter (Jan. 4) outlining a "Plan B" approach are also important to consider. One statement in his letter really caught our eye. "It is my hope the leaders waging this battle define achievable objectives and winnable goals that are supported by the community at large."
The "community at large" here in Delta County is about as diverse as you can get and typically produces wildly opposing opinions on just about any topic. But there is one aspect of this BLM leasing proposal that might be the one objection we can all support. Here it is: The final decision made by the BLM must, as a matter of law, be made based on what is called the "Resource Management Plan (RMP)." The RMP is the resource document that examines in depth all aspects of the BLM holdings and surrounding areas as it relates to wildlife management, water resources, population, roads, pollution, condition of the forest, proximity to residential parcels, farming and ranching practices, economic impacts, geology/hydrology, potential negative impacts of hydro-fracking and many more important facets that affect our life. So the RMP is the document the BLM must consult in deciding how all these many areas of inquiry would be affected by the oil and gas drilling proposed on these 30,000 acres.
Problem is, the local RMP is not close to "current." It was prepared in 1989 — 23 years ago. It doesn't seem fair to us or many people we have talked to that an important decision such as allowing oil and gas drilling on 30,000 acres surrounding the North Fork should be made based upon outdated information.
The BLM understands that they need to bring their official information current. They have been diligently working on updating their antique RMP and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) so that the information upon which they are making important decisions will be current, not 23 years old. This updated plan is scheduled to be completed next year, 2013.
We think that the "community at large" can support this simple request to the BLM: Don't make any decision on oil and gas drilling until you have completed a current EIS and RMP. This is only asking for responsible and fair treatment from our government.
And let your county commissioners know how you feel about it. As our governing body they can also request the completion of the EIS and RMP prior to deciding on the oil and gas drilling issue.
Hotchkissblog comments powered by Disqus