Skip to main content

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.

Case 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 21, 2014 | Map

Map: Roan Plateau

Colorado Conservation Organizations Applaud Roan Plateau Settlement

August 6, 2013 | In the News: Summit County Citizens Voice

BLM to take a closer look at air pollution from oil and gas drilling on Colorado’s Western Slope

The Bureau of Land Management has agreed to establish a publicly-accessible drilling permit tracking system and to reexamine its analysis of the air pollution resulting from 34 oil and gas projects under the jurisdiction of the Colorado River Valley Field Office. The agreement settles a 2011 lawsuit brought by Earthjustice calling for a more thorough examination of pollution from oil and gas drilling, which is one of the main sources of regional haze and ozone pollution in the Intermountain West.

May 17, 2013 | In the News: Summit County Voice

Colorado: Roan Plateau drilling back in federal court

The fossil fuel industry is continuing its efforts to turn Colorado’s pristine Roan Plateau into a industrial drilling zone by filing a challenge to a District Court Judge’s ruling requiring the BLM to conduct a new environmental review of the area. Efforts to exploit Roan Plateau date back to a Bush-era plan that failed to adequately consider the potential impacts of drilling.

Stay Connected For Updates

   Please leave this field empty