Commissioners right to urge go-slow approach
The recent advertisement from the Rocky Mountain Farmer’s union hit the nail right on the head. The currently deferred lease sale near Hesperus and Mancos spans more than 12,000 acres, much of which is on private land needed for agriculture and ranching — people’s very livelihoods. The La Plata County commission was right in sending a letter to BLM urging a comprehensive planning tool be used — such as a master leasing plan — before moving ahead with leasing that could dramatically impact folks, many of whom may not even be aware that the oil and gas industry may be knocking on their door soon.
Problem is, if that happens, private landowners have little say in what goes on in their own backyards, as the federal government owns the minerals underneath. I commend the commissioners for urging BLM to use a more sensible process for potential energy development, rather than the status quo, “drill baby drill” approach the BLM seems to be taking in offering leases in such a sensitive area with little emphasis on public input. We should know by now what can go wrong with fracking.