Protection Granted: Thompson Divide Shielded from Mineral Extraction
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Protection Granted: Thompson Divide Shielded from Mineral Extraction

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland signed a public land order aimed at safeguarding the Thompson Divide from potential negative impacts of mineral development. The order prohibits mining, mineral leasing, and geothermal activities for 20 years, while still respecting existing mineral rights. Any permanent withdrawal would require authorization from Congress.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis expressed his support for the decision, emphasizing the area’s significance to the state’s natural beauty and biodiversity. He highlighted the importance of protecting such renowned public lands, which attract visitors from across the country and around the world.

The Thompson Divide has long been recognized for its outstanding habitat, fish and wildlife values, and its importance to local communities. Conservation efforts spanning decades have finally paid off, with this move securing the landscape’s future.

The decision follows extensive engagement with various stakeholders, including public meetings, coordination with tribes, and reviewing thousands of comments. It aligns with President Biden’s America the Beautiful initiative, aiming to conserve and restore 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.

Currently, the federal government owns a significant portion of Colorado’s land, including about 65% of its forests. In fiscal year 2023, Colorado received $153 million in revenues from energy production on federal and tribal lands, ranking fourth among states.

This decision marks a crucial step in preserving Colorado’s natural heritage for future generations.

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