Ignore the verbiage for now and just look at the map. Click on it to get a bigger version. Get your bearings. You are looking at the area just to the west of Rifle and to the north of the Interstate.
Now, go to Google Earth. You may have to load the new version, but do so. It is worth it. With Google Earth loaded, type "Rifle, CO" in the location box in the upper left hand corner of the screen. This lets you "fly" to that town.
You will be looking down from 34,000 feet, but you want to get closer. Move your mouse wheel to adjust your altitude down to about 10,000 feet and your left mouse button to move to the west about one screen width. Once you get down low, you can tilt the screen so that you are looking at the land horizontially. To do that, move the slider in the upper right all the way to the right.
What you are looking at has routinely been described by the environmentalists, including Mark Udall, as land too beautiful, too pristine to touch. You decide. You also might want to decide for yourself if the Rocky Mountain News areal photograph is deceptive, given the unrepresentative foreground.
Here is what Mark Udall had to say about the BLM decision:
"It was clear last year that in order for the BLM to give the state's input the serious consideration it deserves, it would be necessary for the agency to change its plan to reopen the Record of Decision regarding drilling leases on the Roan Plateau — as Rep. John Salazar and I asked them to do last year," said Congressman Mark Udall, D-Eldorado Springs.
"The BLM's refusal to do so is deeply disappointing because it means a refusal to properly fulfill what the Bush Administration should - but evidently does not - recognize as its obligation to the people of Colorado."
If the Bush administration has an "obligation" to protect scrub land, where would Mark Udall allow the Bush administration to drill to fulfill its other obligations to the people of the nation?
We can't overlook the Denver Post's input to the discussion. We wonder if they have looked at Google Earth.