Monday, May 02, 2016

Interior official looks toward Roan

The Roan Plateau is high on Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s list of issues to be resolved in the remaining months of the Obama administration. Jewell recently discussed the next 100 years of conservation and a “course correction” before the National Geographic Society. The Interior Department has “some work left to re-examine whether decisions made in prior administrations properly considered where it makes sense to develop and where it doesn’t,” Jewell said. “Or where science is helping us better understand the value of the land and water and potential impacts of development. Places like Badger Two-Medicine in Montana, or the Boundary Waters in Minnesota, or the Roan Plateau in Colorado.” Jewell’s comments, however, left some Colorado officials questioning whether they signaled a change in the direction of the management of the Roan. The Bureau of Land Management is completing an environmental study of the area. BLM, industry and environmental groups and local governments in late 2014 reached an agreement to cancel 17 of the 19 leases issued on the plateau in 2008. The remaining two leases on top and 12 leases at the base of the plateau were to remain in place. Jewell was referring to the plan now under study by the BLM, the Interior Department said. “I was pleased when all sides came together to reach a deal on how to move forward with the conservation of and development around Roan Plateau,” said U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., whose 3rd Congressional District includes the plateau. “I’m hopeful that is all Secretary Jewell was referencing in her remarks.” Tipton said he would “strenuously oppose any further actions the Obama administration may be considering with regards to the designation or management of the Roan Plateau” beyond the continuing environmental study...more

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