The White River National Forest has finalized an oil and gas leasing plan that closes part of the Thompson Divide area to future leasing.
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports that the Forest Service on Thursday said that 194,100 acres of the 2.2-million-acre forest will be available for leasing, including more than 118,000 acres not already leased.
Environmentalists have been arguing against leasing the Thompson Divide, which covers about 220,000 acres southwest of Glenwood springs, but much of it is already leased.
White River Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams says the new leasing plan does not affect the status of the 114,520 acres of existing leases inside the forest, but will apply if those leases expire, are terminated or relinquished, or development on them is completed.
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