To the Editor:
I feel compelled to respond to the assertions made in the article published in your newspaper Oct. 4 regarding gas resources in the Vermillion Basin.
The assertion that there is no scientific basis for the estimates of oil and gas reserves in the Vermillion Basin is at odds with the Bureau of Land Management's Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Little Snake Resource Management Plan. The Colorado Department of Natural Resources used exactly the same technique that the Bureau of Land Management used in estimating total oil and gas resources for the Little Snake Resource Management Plan.
The Bureau of Land Management accepted the U.S. Geological Survey's estimate of oil and gas resources in the petroleum systems of the Sand Wash Basin, calculated the amount of acreage in the Little Snake Resource Management Plan that lay within the high-, moderate- and low-potential areas and then calculated the total number of oil and gas resources within the Little Snake Resource Management Plan. This calculation resulted in an estimate on page 3-101 of the draft environmental impact statement of 333 million barrels of oil and 11 trillion cubic feet of gas for the Bureau of Land Management acreage within the Little Snake Resource Planning Area.
The Colorado Department of Natural Resources used the exact same method to calculate the number of resources in the high-, medium- and low-potential areas of the Vermillion Basin. That result showed that only 1.8 percent of the total resources (high, medium and low) calculated for the Planning Area were located in the Vermillion Basin. Therefore, if the Bureau of Land Management's determination of resources of oil and gas in the Planning Area had a scientific basis, then the Colorado Department of Natural Resource's calculation had the exact same scientific basis.
Gov. Bill Ritter has consistently advocated for the responsible development of the state's fossil fuel resources. Under Gov. Ritter's proposal, 95 percent of the Little Snake Resource Area would be available for gas development in the next 15 years. Gov. Ritter's plan calls for placing a moratorium on drilling in the Vermillion Basin during the 15-year life of the current plan.
This balanced approach to development would allow for Moffat and Routt counties to experience significant economic benefits from gas development and, at the same time, protect one of the most unique landscapes found anywhere in the state.
Executive director, Colorado Department of Natural Resources