Comment on Future of the North Fork


The deadline for commenting on the BLM Uncompahgre Field Office (UFO) Draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) is Tuesday, November 1. The BLM’s preferred alternative in the RMP is a roadmap to industrializing the North Fork Valley with increased coal and natural gas development. As such, it’s important that the agency hear from YOU about why other resource values besides dirty fossil fuel should be prioritized by the agency.

Why should you submit comments on this important planning process?

  • The RMP makes decisions for future coal and natural gas leasing and development in the Upper North Fork Valley of Gunnison County and beyond;
  • As proposed, the RMP would facilitate the expansion of coal mining and natural gas development across this rural landscape, impacting wildlife, watersheds, air quality and sustainable recreation;
  • The affected parts of Gunnison County are directly upstream from the orchards, vineyards and small farms surrounding Paonia, Hotchkiss and the North Fork Valley;
  • The greatest percentage of land open to renewable wind and solar development under any of the RMP alternatives (83%) is still smaller than the least percentage of land open to coal mining under any alternative (88% of coal-bearing lands), underscoring the skewed emphasis on coal.

What should you consider saying in your comments?

  • The BLM must analyze and adopt a “no leasing” alternative for coal. Such an alternative is a necessary counterbalance to the current alternatives that skew heavily in favor of coal leasing, and is the only effective way to realistically minimize climate impacts.
  • The Final RMP must include up-to-date data concerning coal markets, coal production and coal employment in the area. The Draft RMP’s data, much of it dating back to 2010 or older, is stale in light of shrinking coal production and employment.
  • You support the “North Fork Alternative,” which provides for no oil and gas leasing across 75% of the North Fork Valley. (Click here for maps of the RMP oil and gas leasing alternatives in the North Fork Valley, courtesy of Western Slope Conservation Center)
  • Write why you personally will be impacted by increased and long-term coal and natural gas development in the North Fork Valley. Perhaps you hunt or fish there, or purchase fresh produce, or worry about decreasing snowpack from climate change.
    This RMP will determine the management of BLM lands in the North Fork Valley for decades to come, and your comments can help our public lands provide a sustainable future for us all.

Thank you for all you do for the environment!