The BLM has announced they are moving forward with the leasing of 20 parcels, and about 20,555 acres, in the North Fork Valley at their February 14, 2013 lease sale.  This is a repackaging of the 30,000 acre lease sale previously proposed for Aug. 2012. The full 281-page Final Environmental Assessment that analyzes the environmental impacts of the proposed lease sale is available online here.

Here are five things you can do today to stop the February 2013 lease sale:

1) Sign a protest.  Citizens for a Healthy Community is working on writing our protest with the help of our attorneys at the Western Environmental Law Center.  CHC members are welcome to stop by our office – 225 Grand Ave. in Paonia, inside the RE-MAX building – to add your signature to our protest.  This is not a requirement, but if you’d like to sign on, you are more than welcome.  You can also sign your name on the community sign-on protest, written by Paonia resident Pete Kolbenschlag, by clicking here or stopping by the CHC office.  These protests will be available for signing at our office until Thursday, December 13 at 5:00 PM.

2) Tell Helen Hankins to Withdraw ALL Parcels from the February Sale! BLM Colorado State Director Helen Hankins has made the decision to proceed with this lease sale, and she can make the decision to stop it.  Call, email, or write a letter to State Director Helen Hankins today urging her to withdraw all 20 parcels and 20,555 acres from the February 2013 lease sale.  Email Helen Hankins at hhankins@blm.gov and call her at 303-239-3700. For a sample letter, and the list of public officials to copy the letter to, click here.

3) Sign and Share the White House Petition.  Sign the White House petition to remove all North Fork parcels from the Feb. 2013 lease sale. We need 25,000 signatures by Dec. 20 to receive an official response from the White House.  If you have connections to other groups or organizations, please share this message with them and ask them to distribute it widely.

4) Share this Information With 5 Friends.  We need strength in numbers on this.  Please email this information to at least 5 friends and ask them to help us out.

5) Become a member or make a contribution to Citizens for a Healthy Community.  We ask for a $30 contribution for basic membership, but we would greatly appreciate any sized gift you are comfortable making.  You can make a tax-deductible contribution to Citizens for a Healthy Community by clicking here or sending a check to CHC, PO Box 291, Hotchkiss, CO 81419

Public Comments VS. Protests

There has been a bit of confusion over the difference between a public comment letter and a protest.  Here’s a brief explanation of each.

Protests – We are currently in a 30 day protest period, which ends on December 17th at 4:00 PM MST.  A protest period is the last step in BLM’s analysis process, where organizations and individuals can file protest with the agency by listing the specific “statement of reasons” why they are protesting and the specific parcels they are protesting.  Citizens for a Healthy Community is filing a protest on your behalf, and there is no action needed on your part for this to happen.  However, if you would like to, anyone is welcome to file a protest with the BLM, and we have put together a guide for filing your own protest – click here for a guide on the five steps to filing a protest.

Public Comments – We still need everyone to write letters to BLM Colorado State Director Helen Hankins urging her to withdraw the leases from the February lease sale.  Most important is that you copy the full list of elected officials listed on our sample letter to make sure that everyone knows our community is united in opposing this lease sale.

Please take a few minutes and take action today to help protect the many important resources that make the North Fork Valley what it is today!

More Resources on the Feb. 2013 Lease Sale

Sample letter on Feb. 2013 Lease Sale

Five Steps to Protest the North Fork Leases

Community Protest – written by Paonia resident Pete Kolbenschlag.  Click here to sign the community protest online.

Map of the North Fork Parcels

The 281-page Final Environmental Assessment

CHC’s scoping comments to BLM on the Aug. 2012 lease sale

CHC’s comments on the draft EA for the Aug. 2012 lease sale


See the updated flyover video from the Conservation Center on Google Earth below.

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