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Nov 17, 2012 7:58 AM by Eugene Daniels

BLM offers North Fork parcels for oil and gas leases

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) - After deferring plans to lease 30,000 acres for oil and gas development in the North Fork Valley, the federal government is going ahead with plans to lease parcels on two-thirds of that acreage.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management said Friday that following further analysis, it has decided to offer parcels on about 20,555 acres in the Paonia, Hotchkiss and Crawford areas for oil and gas leasing Feb. 14.

The decision has angered some residents. Conservationists, local governments and members of the area's agricultural and tourism industries had raised concerns about leasing near the area's wineries, ranches and organic farms.

The BLM says that with required mitigation measures, effects on air and water quality are not expected to be significant.

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