GRAND JUNCTION — The federal Bureau of Land Management withdrew land parcels from an upcoming Colorado oil and gas lease sale due to ongoing litigation, officials said. To replace that land the agency is offering lease sales in Las Animas and Jackson counties.
The agency removed about 14 square miles from the sale scheduled for March 26, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports.
The withdrawn land is located in Mesa, Jackson, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties.
The agency’s amended plan includes offering lease sales for about 48 square miles in Jackson and Las Animas counties, the bureau said.
The agency was forced to pull the land as a result of an injunction issued by a federal judge in Idaho in an ongoing wildlife management lawsuit. The litigation challenges amended greater sage-grouse management plans the agency adopted in northwest Colorado and in other states last year.
The injunction handed down in October requires the agency to follow its 2015 management plan while the lawsuit remains active, preventing the bureau from offering the disputed areas to lease. The withdrawal was a decision by the land management bureau due to the ongoing suit, an agency spokeswoman said.
Several oil and gas organizations, including the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association, have moved to intervene in the case.