The BLM's Tres Rios Field Office is accepting public comments on a proposal to lease six parcels totaling 5,632 acres of public mineral estate in Dolores and Montezuma counties for the upcoming Feb. 11, 2016, oil and gas lease sale in Denver.
Five parcels are in Dolores County, including three parcels totaling 2,742 acres north of Groundhog Reservoir. Two of those overlap the Lone Cone State Wildlife Area.
The other parcels up for lease in Dolores County include a 1,080-acre parcel east of Elston Mountain, and a 196-acre parcel east of the Plateau Creek and Summer Camp creek confluence.
In Montezuma County, a 720-acre parcel is up for lease west of McPhee Reservoir at the end of County Road Z.
Ten parcels had been nominated for leasing, but the BLM deferred four parcels 3,880 acres in and around Lone Mesa State Park north of the town of Dolores. The agency said the deferrals allow for additional review of appropriate protections for state park land from oil-and-gas development.
BLM field manager Connie Clementson explained that the act of leasing does not authorize any development or use of the surface of lease lands, without further application by the operator and approval by the BLM.
"There are several steps in the process," she said. "A successful bidder of a lease must submit an application for a permit to drill (APD), then it goes through more environmental reviews and a public process again."
Whether or not the controversial method of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" as it is commonly known, will be used in the drilling process is not known at this time.
"We won't know until the lease is sold and an APD is submitted," Clementson said.
Foreseeable oil and gas development for the San Juan National Forest and BLM's Tres Rios district is estimated at 2,900 new wells in the next 15 years, according to their Resource Management Plan (RMP) approved in February 2015.
But that rate seems unlikely, according to a BLM worksheet published this month on the upcoming oil and gas lease sale.
Written comments on the oil and gas lease proposal must be received by Sept. 11, 2015, and may be submitted via e-mail to email@example.com or by mail to BLM Tres Rios Field Office, Attn: Robert Guarrigues, 29211 Highway 184, Dolores, CO 81323 or via fax to 970-882-6841.
The most effective comments refer to a specific parcel and its associated resources.
For more information on the project, click on the link http://on.doi.gov/1IONVSh