"We remain hopeful that newer, better drilling technologies will minimize energy development’s overall footprint in this vital wildlife habitat."
A final update of the Bureau of Land Management’s oil and gas plan for part of western Colorado includes proposals to reduce impacts on wildlife, including the Dinosaur Trail and Shale Ridges Master Leasing Plans. However, the National Wildlife Federation expressed concerns that the plan still projects drilling up to 15,040 oil and gas wells in the heart of important mule deer country.
Kate Zimmerman, NWF’s director of public lands policy, said Friday:
"The Bureau of Land Management has improved the original oil and gas plan for its White River Field Office, but still envisions the potential of about 15,000 new wells in a region that been home to some of the country’s largest mule deer and elk herds. NWF supports BLM’s goal of consolidating drilling sites and infrastructure to reduce impacts on fish and wildlife, but there’s no ignoring the fact that many more wells are proposed in what has been called Colorado’s ‘mule-deer factory,'" Zimmerman said. "The once-robust herd has seen declines as drilling has increased and is less than half of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s long-term goal of 67,500 deer. A new CPW study shows that oil and gas development in the area has compromised up to half the critical winter range. We remain hopeful that newer, better drilling technologies will minimize energy development’s overall footprint in this vital wildlife habitat."
Read about Colorado's 'mule-deer factory' and efforts to reverse the herd's declines
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