BLM auction of oil, gas leases nets $248,058 |

BLM auction of oil, gas leases nets $248,058

DENVER ” A U.S. Bureau of Land Management auction of oil and gas leases in Colorado netted less than $250,000 Thursday, possibly reflecting a decline in the price of natural gas.

The Denver auction of 11,257 acres came after the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service withdrew most of the 130,000 acres originally intended for sale after environmental groups applied pressure.

Nevada-based Yates Petroleum Corp. made the highest bid of $80,000 for an 800-acre parcel of land in Routt County in northwest Colorado.

By contrast, an August auction of nearly 55,000 acres in the Roan Plateau netted $114 million, the largest sale in the BLM’s history.

Colorado will split the proceeds of Thursday’s sale with the federal government, said BLM spokesman James Sample.

Environmentalists and state officials objected to the original size of the auction, saying development could harm key habitat for threatened populations of mule deer and Colorado River cutthroat trout.

“We’re pleased that they pulled the parcels that we had concerns over,” said Tyler Baskfield, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Wildlife.

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