Natural Gas in the North Fork Valley

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Natural Gas in the North Fork Valley

Date: 05/20/2024     State: CO     Issue: Oil and Gas     Partners: Citizens for a Healthy Community, North Fork Valley Creative Coalition Airport Origin : Paonia, CO    


Our overflight examined the locations of proposed and existing natural gas wells and infrastructure in the beautiful North Fork Valley near Paonia. We contrasted this relatively quiet agrarian and undeveloped landscape of the North Fork to the dramatic natural gas fields near Colbran. The North Fork Valley, like the neighboring Thompson Divide, occupies a precarious position at the edge of economically-viable natural gas development in the otherwise highly productive Piceance Basin. Citizens, business owners, environmental advocates, and local governments have long argued that any marginal benefit of mineral extraction is far outweighed by the benefits of maintaining the area’s vibrant ecosystems, recreation- and agriculture-based economies, and aesthetic character. However, threats from mineral interests continually evolve in response to BLM leasing, and the North Fork Valley enjoys no permanent protection from future natural gas expansion.

EcoFlight and our partners at Citizens for a Healthy Community (C4HC) are working to engage North Fork Valley community members in a critical and timely discussion about the North Fork’s future. The BLM is in the process or reforming their Resource Management Plan (RMP) plan. A draft will be released for public comment in the fall, and they need a healthy turnout of local voices to submit comments - they are aiming for more comments than last time the BLM issued an RMP.

Despite the ecological importance of the swaths of wildlands, roadless areas, and important wildlife habitat, we flew over,  these landscapes are threatened by oil and gas development. Thank you for your advocacy to encourage the BLM to close lands in the North Fork Valley to oil and gas leasing and protect these special places.

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