Colorado Independent » Farmers, businesses, government officials give BLM an earful over gas lease auction

Apr 24, 2012 News

Bald eagles go there to roost in the winter. The pastoral setting is home to one of the highest concentrations of organic farms in Colorado. It is one of just two designated wine regions in the state.

But that may change soon.

The Bureau of Land Management is proposing to offer 21 of the 22 parcels eligible for auction this August in a section of western Colorado where oil and gas companies have set their sights. A few coal mines and dozens of oil and gas wells are already scattered throughout the area, but many residents say additional drilling could be detrimental to the region’s economy, which relies on clean land to grow fruits and vegetables that end up on countless dinner and restaurant tables.

The prospect of the lease sale is already damaging the reputations of farmers and ranchers who say they are encountering customers who falsely believe their food is polluted from oil and gas drilling.

“At our ranch we raise natural grass-fed beef and specialty hays, which are sold to buyers across the country who are interested in quality products that are not tainted with chemicals,” said Landon Deane at Eagle Butte Ranch. “Leasing this land threatens our domestic and irrigation water supplies, and could cause irreversible damage to our reputation and the quality of our products.”

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Farmers, businesses, government officials give BLM an earful over gas lease auction | The Colorado Independent.