Colorado Conservation Organizations Applaud Roan Plateau Settlement


The plateau is a stronghold for wildlife, rare plants, and some of Colorado’s last pristine wildlands


Mike Freeman, Earthjustice, (720) 989-6896

Colorado conservation organizations released the following statements today applauding the announcement of a settlement on the Roan Plateau. The settlement resolves litigation pursued by organizations quoted below and others to better protect the unique wildlife, recreational, and environmental values of the Roan Plateau. The groups were represented by Earthjustice and Western Resource Advocates.

Under terms of the settlement, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) would cancel the majority of oil and gas leases on ecologically sensitive top of the Roan Plateau. In addition, the BLM will consider a management plan alternative that would allow for some limited development on remaining leases, precludes new leasing on top of plateau for the life of the plan, and conserves important big game habitat at the base of the Roan.

“The Roan Plateau is a stronghold for wildlife, rare plants, and some of Colorado’s last pristine wildlands,” said Earthjustice Attorney Michael Freeman, who represented the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. “This settlement gives the Roan the protection that it deserves, but it also allows responsible energy development to move forward in parts of the plateau. We thank Governor Hickenlooper, Senators Udall and Bennet, and Representative Tipton, for their support of this agreement.  It is heartening to see leaders from both sides of the aisle come together on a solution that’s good for Colorado.” Contact: Mike Freeman, (720) 989-6896,

Conservation Colorado:
"We have long said that some areas in Colorado are too wild to drill, the Roan Plateau is certainly one of those places. Thanks to leaders like Governor Hickenlooper and Senators Udall and Bennet, and Representative Tipton, Coloradans will have a greater opportunity to experience and enjoy the Roan Plateau's trout filled streams, elk and mule deer herds and dramatic waterfalls and soaring scenic vista's," said Pete Maysmith, Executive Director, Conservation Colorado. “This settlement provides a path towards meaningful protections for the Roan. It represents thousands of hours of work from sportsmen, conservationists, the oil and gas industry, land managers and elected officials. We look forward to working with the Bureau of Land Management as we develop long term solutions to protect the Roan Plateau.” Contact: Chris Arend, (303) 908-7910,

The Wilderness Society:
“Our ultimate path forward here in Colorado could serve as a model for other communities across the West,” said Nada Culver, Senior Director for Agency Policy at The Wilderness Society. “Common sense approaches to conservation and energy development in other regions could help prevent some of the conflict and concerns that arise when we lease in the wrong places.” Contact: Nada Culver, (303)

Rocky Mountain Wild:
"The previously approved oil and gas leasing on top of the Roan plateau would have pushed some plant species to the brink of extinction", said Matt Sandler, Staff Attorney for Rocky Mountain Wild, "This settlement is the first step towards long lasting protections for this majestic area; but the fight is not over."  Contact: Matt Sandler, (303) 579-5162,

Sierra Club:
"We're pleased to see this settlement reached, which will protect some of the last, best remaining portions on top of the Roan Plateau as well as take important steps for keeping dirty fuels in the ground," said Mark Stevens, co-chair of Sierra Club's Rocky Mountain Chapter. "The Roan Plateau, with its critical habitat for rare plants, mule deer, and genetically pure cutthroat trout, is a special place for Coloradans. This settlement will reduce oil and gas drilling and give wildlife critical space to prosper." Contact: Catherine Collentine, (303) 454-3363,

Wilderness Workshop:
“We thank Governor Hickenlooper, Representative Tipton, and our Senators for their support of this balanced plan that offers strong protections for the Roan Plateau while still allowing reasonable access to energy leases,” said Peter Hart, Staff Attorney / Conservation Analyst for Carbondale-based Wilderness Workshop. “This is the Colorado way.” Contact: Peter Hart, (970) 963-3977, ext.  

Rock the Earth:
"After a multi-year battle to protect one of the remaining wilderness-quality gems in the state, Rock the Earth joins with conservation and sportsmen groups, state, federal, and local officials in a settlement that represents a pragmatic and reasoned compromise. As noted in our comments since 2005 and recognized by Judge Krieger in her 2012 decision, all we have ever advocated for was an alternative that was supported by the community, protected these precious natural resources, while still allowing reasonable energy development. In this true community alternative, the most threatened areas of the Roan and the species that call it home will be protected and energy development will move forward, providing and protecting the economic interests of the community on all sides of the issue. This compromise settlement is truly the best of what Coloradans can do when met with difficult challenges involving energy and natural resources.” Contact: Marc Ross, (303) 454-3304, 

For More Information

The valley below the Roan Plateau is dotted by oil and gas development.
The valley below the Roan Plateau is dotted by oil and gas development. (Photo courtesy of Ecoflight)

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