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BLM defers oil, gas leasing in Colorado

DENVER (AP) -- The Bureau of Land Management is deferring the leasing of 20 parcels in western Colorado's North Fork Valley for energy development.

The agency said Wednesday that after receiving extensive public comments, it won't be offering the parcels at its next quarterly auction of oil and gas leases on Feb. 14.

Sportsmen, farmers, ranchers and residents had expressed concerns about how drilling might affect valley ranches, farms, vineyards, tourism and wildlife habitat.

Acting BLM Director Mike Pool says the deferral meshes with efforts to make sure energy development occurs in appropriate places, but David Ludlam of the Western Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association tells The Denver Post (http://bit.ly/14EjgVg) it's a case study of flaws in the Obama administration's leasing reforms.

The auction will still offer leases on 151 other parcels.