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Roan Plateau Talks End

Conservation groups issue statement
October 21, 2010
Denver, CO —

Magistrate Judge Kristen Mix announced today that settlement talks aimed at protecting the Roan Plateau have ended. In the wake of today’s order, the ten plaintiff conservation and sportsmen’s organizations made the following statement:

“It’s a shame the parties couldn’t reach an agreement to protect this unique landscape, which is a haven for wildlife and recreation. More than 5 million acres of federal land have already been leased for drilling in Colorado—70 percent of which lie undeveloped. We can supply our country with the energy it needs and at the same time fully protect the Roan Plateau.

"We have worked tirelessly to ensure that the Roan Plateau gets the protection it deserves. We remain willing to keep talking to find a reasonable solution.

"It is still possible to safeguard this tremendous natural resource, and we continue to work to that end. We believe that our challenge to the leasing decisions on the Roan remains on solid legal ground, and urge the Obama administration to develop a plan for the Roan Plateau that awards these public lands the full protection they warrant.”

Individual Spokesperson Quotes:

David Nickum, Executive Director, Colorado Trout Unlimited: "The Roan Plateau is a Colorado treasure for fish and wildlife—and for our hunting and fishing heritage. While we are disappointed that settlement talks have failed, our work to defend the Roan continues and we look to the Administration to help ensure that it is protected for future generations of sportsmen."

Steve Torbit, Regional Executive Director of the National Wildlife Federation: “The drilling proposed for the Roan Plateau would devastate the elk, mule deer and native trout living there and deal a real blow to the region’s hunting and fishing economy. As long as we protect wildlife habitat, western Colorado’s outdoors economy won’t have to suffer through the boom-and-bust cycles that the energy industry is infamous for.”

Elise Jones, Executive Director, Colorado Environmental Coalition: “For nearly a decade, we have worked side by side with hunters, anglers, town councils, outfitters, and local citizens to safeguard the unique natural values of the Roan Plateau. While the end to the settlement discussions is unfortunate, we are optimistic that the overwhelming public support for the Roan will ultimately prevail in achieving a more balanced future for this cherished landscape.”

Background:
Coloradans from all walks of life have long supported protecting the Roan Plateau. In spite of tremendous community support for protecting the Roan Plateau, in August 2008 the Bush administration leased every acre of public land on and around the Plateau for oil and gas development. Tens of thousands of citizens filed protests that were all cursorily dismissed. Ten conservation and sportsmen groups, represented by Earthjustice, filed suit in federal court and entered into court-ordered settlement talks in 2009. The groups are Colorado Environmental Coalition, Colorado Mountain Club, Colorado Trout Unlimited, Center For Native Ecosystems, Rock The Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society and the Wilderness Workshop.

The Campaign to Save Roan Plateau has worked for over ten years, gathering unprecedented levels of local and statewide support for protecting these cherished public lands.

The Roan Plateau is one of Colorado’s top areas for biological diversity due to its richness of species, rare plants, pure strains of Colorado River cutthroat trout and unique ecosystems.

Contacts

David Nickum, Colorado Trout Unlimited, (303) 440-2937

Steve Torbit, National Wildlife Federation, (303) 619-4122

Elise Jones, Colorado Environmental Coalition, (303) 405-6704

Mike Freeman, Earthjustice, (720) 989-6896

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.