From the Summit Daily News (Janice Kurbjun):
Melissa Yoder of the Colorado State Land Board said two of the parcels were adjacent to Antero Reservoir and were removed at the request of Denver Water. The third tract was near a Gold Medal fishery on the Middle Fork of the South Platte, and Colorado Division of Wildlife officials advised it be removed.
“The South Park Basin is incredibly important for our drinking water and rich in wildlife resources,” said Matt Garrington, program advocate for Environment Colorado, in a press release. “The Colorado State Land Board made a wise decision today recognizing that some areas are too sensitive to be drilled where the full impacts are not yet fully known.”
The Land Board commissioners “asked its staff to go back through the oil and gas auction list to ensure the Division of Wildlife didn’t have any additional stipulations to put on tracts as it related to specific wildlife habitat impacts,” Yoder said.
She added that if there are concerns, leases receive stipulations to accommodate the habitat issues identified. In that area, mule deer and pronghorn could be affected by drilling operations.
“The State Land Board will auction lands with high wildlife values, such as severe winter range for mule deer and pronghorn and greater sage grouse habitat,” said Suzanne O’Neill, executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation, in the press release. “It is absolutely critical that the State Land Board confer with the Division of Wildlife about how to best avoid, or at least mitigate, impacts to wildlife habitat.”