Next step taken by government to make western Rockies off limits to oil and gas


The Biden administration is moving ahead with the next step in its plans to close the western slope of the Rockies in Colorado to oil and gas exploration.

The U.S. Forest Service proposes making 224,704 acres of National Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands be “withdrawn from all forms of entry, appropriation and disposal under the public land laws, mining laws, and mineral and geothermal leasing laws, subject to valid existing rights.” 

If eventually adopted, the government plan would make nearly a quarter of a million acres of public land off limits to mining, oil and gas extraction for 20 years.

In preparation for the plan, the Forest Service is about to release the draft Environmental Assessment for the requested Thompson Divide mineral withdrawal for public comment, reported the Crested Butte News.

The paper described the affected areas across the Gunnison Ranger District, Paonia Ranger District, western Aspen Ranger District and western Sopris Ranger District, and notably includes protection for Mt. Emmons, aka Red Lady, above the town of Crested Butte.