Interior Secretary makes Colorado’s Thompson Divide off limits to new oil and gas drilling



The ranchers, conservationists and environmentalists who spent the past 10 years fighting new oil and gas drilling in the region called the Thompson Divide in central Colorado are finally seeing victory.

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland moved this week to withdraw a broad swath of Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service land from eligibility for future oil, gas and mineral development. The region in question is 347 square miles of public land and for the next 20 years, it will not be eligible for oil and gas exploration.

The Greeley Tribune reported the decision will not affect permits or leases that have already been approved.

“This mineral withdrawal will provide much deserved and long-lasting protection to the Thompson Divide, an area filled with immense aspen groves, vast roadless lands, community watersheds and rich wildlife habitat,” said Will Roush, executive director of Carbondale-based Wilderness Workshop, in a news release. “Preserving this ecologically intact ecosystem reflects the will of local communities and is critical for the state’s biological connectivity and biodiversity.”

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