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E-M:/ Gas Industry Covets Roan Plateau



There may not be a distinct Michigan connection to the Roan Plateau of western Colorado, but I feel it is important for those who have commented on ANWR in Alaska to be aware of it.
 
Bill Collins
 
Huron Ecologic, LLC
3335 Crooks Road
Rochester Hills, Michigan 48309 USA
phone & fax: 248-852-4682
e-mail: huronecologic@netzero.net
 
Huron Ecologic provides wetland delineations, wetland permitting, wetland mitigation design & monitoring, tree inventories, botanical & ecological surveys, natural area protection, nature education, and technical training.
 
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The full article is available at:
http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/122903G.shtml
 
Gas Industry Covets a Colorado Plateau
  By Judith Kohler
  The Associated Press
  Sunday 28 December 2003
Site is home to elk, deer, mountain lions, bears -- and a big supply of clean-burning natural gas. Tourism boosts area's economy.
   PARACHUTE, Colo. — From the ground, the Roan Plateau is a craggy mass of tree-dotted rock that rises half a mile out of the high desert of western Colorado. From the air, however, it is 54,000 acres of green rolling hills and valleys that are home to wildlife such as elk, deer, mountain lions, peregrine falcons and bears. Rain that falls on the 9,000-foot plateau nurtures patches of aspen and Douglas fir, intermingled with scrub oak and sagebrush.
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   With the Roan Plateau, it's all about perspective. To energy companies and the Bush administration, it is a key plank in the drive for U.S. energy independence, because it sits atop a mother lode of clean-burning natural gas. To others, the plateau is a haven for wildlife and the cornerstone of the region's $3.8-million-a-year hunting industry. They fear that the plateau is being sacrificed in a mad dash to develop rather than conserve energy.
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   Four years ago, the Bureau of Land Management said 22,000 acres of the plateau had characteristics of wilderness, a designation that would bar development. Such protection seems increasingly unlikely. The agency is considering a plan that could add 800 to 1,600 gas wells on 73,600 acres of federal land near and atop the plateau. A draft plan is expected to be issued in January. The bureau dropped an option, backed by city governments in surrounding Garfield County, that would have banned drilling on top of the plateau. Dan Richardson, a Glenwood Springs city councilman who led the no-drilling campaign, said he believed the high-profile fight to develop Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge had distracted the public from places like the Roan Plateau.
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   Environmentalists believe that what happens in the gas-rich Uinta-Piceance Basin, which includes the Roan Plateau, could influence decisions about other Western public land under scrutiny by energy companies and the Bush administration. The U.S. Geological Survey says the basin holds 21 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas. The Roan Plateau alone contains at least 5 trillion cubic feet — enough to heat 75 million homes for a year.
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