North Fork Valley December Oil & Gas Lease Sale
I am opposed to the North Fork leases included in the December 2018 Lease Sale that surround the Paonia Reservoir and are contiguous to Colorado Roadless Areas due to the significant irreparable damage that could occur from new oil and gas leasing and corresponding fracking in these areas.
- Paonia Reservoir: Surface spills could immediately harm the farms and people of the North Fork Valley, who daily use water from Paonia Reservoir for irrigation needs. Additionally, one of the largest landslides in recent history is located just upstream from parcels nominated for lease. Oil and gas development in this area could pose serious risk not only to water quality, but to the geologic integrity of the Paonia Reservoir itself and surrounding slopes.
- Clean Water: The North Fork Valley is a hub of organic agriculture and one of only two federally recognized wine regions in Colorado. Protection of the valley’s water supply relies on protecting the North Fork from source-to-use. Pollution must be prevented from entering this critical water system. Surface contamination and spills, which occur regularly in Colorado oil and gas fields, could spread rapidly through the irrigation systems that water the valley.
- Wildlife: Of particular concern are impacts to mule deer, elk, Canada lynx, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, bald eagle and greenback cutthroat trout. Coupled with the impacts of existing energy development, additional leasing and development directly threatens rare mid-elevation habitat and the wildlife which depends upon it.
- Land Planning: The BLM has been deferring leasing in the North Fork Valley as it has been revising the Uncompahgre RMP. The North Fork Valley is too wild, too beautiful, and too productive to be sacrificed for oil and gas interests. The valley has produced energy for our country from public lands for over a century from its coal mines. Now is the time to protect remaining wildlands in the area for future generations to enjoy.