BLM Consideration of Oil and Gas Lease Sales in Colorado are Shortsighted, Dangerous
The Green Party of Colorado (GPCO) expresses its opposition to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposals of federal oil and gas lease sales on Sept. 6, 2018 of approximately 22,175 acres of land in Huerfano, Kiowa, Lincoln, Washington, Weld and Baca Counties, Colorado. Green Party key values of ecological wisdom, future focus and sustainability inform our recognition that these proposals are shortsighted and misguided.
"The BLM is couching this leasing in terms of "the Administration's priority to make America safe through energy independence," and supporting jobs, but in reality this is an attempt to create short term capital at the long term expense of the climate and local environment," said Andy Hamilton, chair of the Mesa County Green Party in Grand Junction. "A transition to renewable energy sources would better address the real needs of the working class."
Of the 11 land parcels in Huerfano County nominated for oil and gas lease sales, totalling 18,358 acres, 10 of those are located within eight miles of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, and one is located within a mile, on the east side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range.
The BLM Environmental Assessment (EA) itself admits that "any future development of these leases will result in emissions of criteria, VOC, HAP and GHG pollutants," which would deteriorate regional air quality and contribute to climate change. The EA also acknowledges that water quality and quantity could be impacted, including contamination of surface and ground water, as well as surface and subsurface soils, from spilled oil or other fluids. Additionally, the EA found that habitat destruction from development would have mortal risks for migratory birds and several other sensitive species.
"Ecological wisdom means we have to heed the warnings of climate scientists and cease the extraction of oil and gas," said Stephen Molyneux, Secretary of the Denver Green Party. "Capitalism threatens all life on Earth and must be dismantled. Ecosocialism is necessary to avert climate disaster and end oppression."
"These are supposed to be our "public lands," but so often they are leased to industry for pennies. This isn't a new attack, as the previous administration set records for oil and gas development on public lands," said Joshua James, Longmont Green Party chairperson, and GPCO Treasurer. "As capitalism continues to devour lands now at the doorsteps of even our National Parks, the harm is much more apparent. The Green Party of Colorado stands in solidarity with all of the devastated communities, many by the hands of the fossil fuel industry."
Interested persons also opposed to the sale of oil and gas leases on these lands in Colorado are encouraged to contact Sharon Sales with the BLM by phone at 719-269-8555, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at Royal Gorge Field Office, Attn: September 2018 Lease Sale, 3028 E. Main St., Cañon City, CO 81212, with comments in opposition by April 6th. The GPCO also recognizes that the formal ways of voicing concerns and taking action within the established system puts citizens in a box of allowable activism. The GPCO commends groups and individuals involved in direct action, civil disobedience and establishing/enforcing community rights and rights of nature to protect people and planet.
Andrew Hamilton, Co-Chair, Mesa County Green Party;
Joshua Elliott James, Chairperson, Longmont Green Party;
Stephen Molyneux, Secretary, Denver Green Party
Phone: (970) 210-4725