Western Slope Officials Reach Deal On Thompson Divide Mining

Officials in western Colorado say they will protect at least part of the area known as the Thompson Divide from federal mineral leasing.

The Post Independent reports that Garfield County commissioners say they support the withdrawal of about 39,000 acres within their portion of the larger Thompson Divide region from consideration for future oil and gas leases.

But they also expressed continued support for a legislative lease exchange proposed by energy companies SG Interests and Ursa Resources.

Thompson Divide Coalition executive director Zane Kessler says the organization supports Garfield County's compromise to protect part of the region from energy development.

The county's decision is at odds with U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, who recently said he opposes permanently withdrawing federal lands in the area from oil and gas leasing.