I want to provide clarification about a recent column regarding the BLM mission and concerns about BLM providing for gas-and-oil leasing (Thinking Green, Herald, June 6). While BLM has the congressional mandate for managing the minerals of the United States, we have many other exciting programs and resources we manage within our multiple-use mission. Let me clarify how proposed parcels are made available – an individual, group or corporation can nominate parcels.
These parcels were not nominated by the BLM! The resource-management plan is the document that makes the decision on lands made available for leasing. Resource, timing and surface stipulations are required as a condition of the lease. Leasing reform (as put forward under former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar), provides additional public input from our communities during a nine-month period before lease sale. The recent news release asking for input on parcels in San Miguel, Montrose and Dolores counties is the first round of comments on these proposed lease parcels. We want to give everyone the opportunity to review the information and provide input. That is how the process works.
BLM Tres Rios also provides special events that support tourism, including Jeep tours, mountain bike races and events including 12 hours of Mesa Verde, the Hardrock 100 Race and the Jeep Jamboree. The office works with devoted volunteers to provide local trails surrounding Durango and Cortez. We perform critical hazardous fuels-reduction work in and around Durango with Veteran Green Corps and work with the city of Durango and La Plata County to convey land to build a new a storm-water facility and county fairgrounds. The BLM supports traditional ranching and open space by providing forage for grazing livestock and wildlife and provides management for the internationally recognized Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and the Anasazi Heritage Center near Dolores.
Call us at 882-7296 if you would like to learn more about gas-and-oil leasing process or any of the other multiple uses that we are charged with managing.
Connie Clementson, BLM Tres Rios field manager