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Defending the Roan Plateau from Oil and Gas Drilling

Winter at the Roan Plateau in Colorado.

Winter at the Roan Plateau in Colorado.

Photo courtesy of SkyTruth

What's at Stake

The Colorado Natural Heritage Program ranks the Roan Plateau as one of the four most biologically rich areas in Colorado—the other three are already protected as part of the National Park System.

Overview

Colorado’s Roan Plateau is a bastion of biological diversity. Within tens of thousands of acres of wilderness quality lands reside genetically pure strains of cutthroat trout, the state’s greatest herds of mule deer and elk, and a stunning array of sensitive and rare plants.

The Colorado Natural Heritage Program ranks the Roan Plateau as one of the four most biologically rich areas in Colorado—the other three are already protected as part of the National Park System.

But beneath the earth that supports these species are reservoirs of oil and gas that industry simply will not keep its derricks from plunging. Sensitive to industry’s desires, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) prepared an oil and gas leasing plan for the region that would allow more than 3,600 wells to be drilled upon the plateau, jeopardizing, by the agency’s own admission, the wild character of the place.

Earthjustice is representing a coalition of national and local groups in a lawsuit that challenges the BLM’s leasing plan and the attempts of industry to ensure the wild Roan Plateau is opened to their drilling desires.

Case Updates

November 17, 2016 | Reference

Background on the Roan Plateau

As part of the “drill, baby, drill” strategy employed by the George W. Bush administration from 2000 to 2008, the president issued an executive order to “expedite energy-related projects” by limiting protections for wildlife and natural resources, and fast-tracking leasing on public lands.

November 21, 2014 | Map

Map: Roan Plateau

Colorado Conservation Organizations Applaud Roan Plateau Settlement