BLM Studying Oil, Gas Drilling In South Park Basin

<p>(Courtesy Flickr user <a href="" target="_blank">Alan Szalwinski</a>)</p>
<p>Fall colors near South Park, Colorado.</p>
Photo: South Park, Colorado
Fall colors near South Park, Colorado.

The Bureau of Land Management is evaluating a land leasing plan in the alpine valley about an hour southwest of Denver, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports.

That plan has environmentalists and fish guiding services on edge, the paper says.

"In South Park our big concern is not very much different from what just happened on the Animas (River)," David Leinweber, who owns the Angler's Covey in Colorado Springs, told the Gazette. "It's the what-if story."

The potential pollution of South Park-area waterways has Front Range cities concerned as well. Rivers and reservoirs in the area provide much of the Denver area's water.

The BLM is possibly years from approving drilling, the Gazette says. The area hasn't been drilled in decades, according to a 2011 USDA report.