Washington, D.C. — The Biden administration’s proposal to pause new mining and oil and gas drilling in Colorado’s Thompson Divide would protect 110,600 acres of the state’s most high value landscapes and ecological resources, according to a new analysis from the Center for American Progress.
That’s nearly half of the 225,000 acres of pristine forest covered by the proposed 20-year mineral withdrawal announced last October.
The site hosts upward of 47,000 acres of the state’s most high-value land for ecological intactness and more than 33,900 acres of land in the 75th percentile for ecological connectivity. The withdrawal in the Thompson Divide will serve to support the region’s rich wildlife and further national biodiversity conservation. It would also further the “America the Beautiful” initiative, which aims to protect 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.
“The gilded potential of oil and gas development in the Thompson Divide should not overshadow the real ecological benefit of preserving these lands through a federal mineral withdrawal,” said Jenny Rowland-Shea, director of public lands at CAP and co-author of the column. “As the area continues to wait for permanent congressional protection, this move is necessary to protect these valuable resources from disturbance and destruction from ongoing oil and gas leasing.”
Read the column: “Ecosystem Benefits of the Thompson Divide Mineral Withdrawal” by Sharon Ferguson and Jenny Rowland-Shea
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