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Biden administration bars drilling in Colorado’s Thompson Divide landscape

The Biden administration on Wednesday barred drilling and mining in a Colorado landscape known as the Thompson Divide, an area of mountaintops, foothills and valleys in the center of the state.

The administration said it would bar drilling and mining in 221,898 acres of the divide’s lands for 20 years as part of an effort to preserve it for the future.

“The Thompson Divide area is a treasured landscape, valued for its wildlife habitat, clean air and water, and abundant recreation, ecological and scenic values,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a written statement.

“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to ensuring that special places like these are protected for future generations,” Haaland added.

The Biden administration first indicated plans to protect the area alongside President Biden’s creation of the Camp Hale National Monument, also in Colorado.

A federal assessment projects that the government’s actions will likely prevent 12 or 13 oil and gas wells from springing up in the area.

The Thompson Divide is known for ranching and grazing lands, as well as wildlife, outdoor recreation and clean water, according to the administration.

The lands where drilling is now barred include areas of the White River and Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison national forests.

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