Lakewood, CO

Feds delay Colorado oil and gas lease sale amid protests, environmental study

Matt Whittaker
Drilling rig and cows near Piceance Creek in Rio Blanco County, Colo., in May 2009.Jeff Foster / Flickr

By Matt Whittaker / NewsBreak Denver

(Lakewood, Colo.) The Bureau of Land Management pushed back its oil and gas lease sale by a week to allow time for protest resolution and environmental analyses, the bureau’s Lakewood-based state office said Friday.

As part of the national sale of more than 170 parcels on roughly 144,000 acres, the Colorado office said Friday it would offer nine parcels totaling nearly 5,300 acres in Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Weld counties in an oil and gas lease sale on June 30. 

The office first said the sale would take place on June 16 but later corrected that to June 23.

In a public comment period, one of the protesting organizations, the National Parks Conservation Association, sent a letter saying it particularly opposed leasing three parcels near Dinosaur National Monument, which straddles the border between Utah and northwestern Colorado. The group also worries about what affect new leasing would have on climate change.

The Sierra Club also fretted about the lease sales being at odds with the Biden administration’s climate goals to fight climate change.

Oil and gas won’t begin flowing from the leased parcels in time to put a dent in currently high oil prices. Companies can take years to explore, drill, and get pumps up and running. And production decisions hinge on what the price of oil is doing.

On Friday, the average price of regular unleaded gasoline reached a fresh nominal record of $4.908 a gallon, according to AAA. Adjusting for inflation, however, the 2008 regular unleaded price record of $4.093 would be $5.55 in today’s dollars.

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Matt Whittaker writes about natural resources industries, including oil and gas, mining, renewable energy, agriculture and cannabis. He's been based in the Denver metro area since 2013. You can follow him on Twitter @mattswhittaker.

Lakewood, CO

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