BLM plans for Colorado, California restrict drilling and recreation

By Scott Streater | 06/21/2024 01:37 PM EDT

But the revised plan for areas in western Colorado would allow more new oil and gas development than originally proposed.

A pump jack works.

A pump jack working off state highway 119 near Firestone, Colorado, in 2016. David Zalubowski/AP

The Bureau of Land Management advanced Friday land-use plan updates in Colorado and California that would restrict oil and gas development and some recreational uses across nearly 2 million acres to address climate warming.

BLM released a final supplemental environmental impact statement that outlines management revisions on 1.6 million acres of BLM lands in the Colorado River Valley and Grand Junction field offices in western Colorado, including closing more than 1 million acres to future oil and natural gas leasing.

The bureau also released a final EIS analyzing updates to the Northwest California Integrated Resource Management Plan, which covers 382,200 acres along the state’s northern coast. It highlights future sea-level rise caused by a warming climate as among the justifications for establishing 26 new “areas of critical environmental concern,” or ACECs, covering 87,890 acres, or nearly a quarter of the planning area.


“By accounting for anticipated climate change effects during the planning process, the BLM can make management decisions that reflect the anticipated impacts on vulnerable resources to assure that public lands and ecosystems are resilient to sea-level rise, increasing temperatures, and changing precipitation patterns,” the final EIS for the California plan says.