Battle over oil and gas leasing in Western U.S. fiercely fought in Colorado

The battle over oil and gas leasing on public lands in the West is being most fiercely fought in Colorado, where in the past five years, nine of every 10 acres offered for drilling have been protested.

The Denver Post by Mark Jaffe

In 2012, proposed lease acreage in Colorado drew formal challenges, called protests, at a far greater rate than that of three neighboring states, according to federal Bureau of Land Management data.
The BLM, which oversees public- lands oil and gas leasing, is set to hold its largest Colorado sale in four years — for 109,000 acres spread across the state — on Feb. 14. It has received 175 protests.
The volleys of protest from communities, wildlife officials and environmental groups are sparked, they say, by an inadequate analysis of drilling impacts in the state and insufficient protection of public lands.
For the agency and the oil-and-gas industry, the battle has bogged down the process of making land — as required by law — available for development in Colorado.
"The question is: Who should get the benefits of public lands?" said Nada Culver, an attorney with the Wilderness Society. "Is it the public or private companies?"