Roan on the auction block

BLM set to open Colorado plateau to gas drilling despite broad opposition



Unless a last-ditch lawsuit filed by environmental groups is successful, the Bureau of Land Management will lease 55,000 acres of Colorado's most biodiverse lands to the energy industry on August 14. The Roan Plateau, which sits atop one of the largest natural gas reserves in the state, has become an icon in the battle over energy extraction in Colorado. BLM officials say their plan will protect the watersheds and wildlife habitat on the plateau, but a coalition of citizen groups, sportsmen, environmentalists and government officials -- including Gov. Bill Ritter -- are pushing for stricter regulations. The leasing of Roan will mark the end of a seven year battle.

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