DENVER (AP) – Groups representing oil and gas companies say they’re concerned that Colorado’s proposed rule for managing roadless forests would essentially designate more areas as wilderness.

They said in comments to the U.S. Forest Service last week that only Congress can designate wilderness that’s protected from development.

The comments were submitted by the Western Energy Alliance, Colorado Oil and Gas Association, Colorado Petroleum Association, La Plata County Energy Council, West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association and Public Lands Advocacy.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who oversees the Forest Service, has said he hopes to make a final decision this year on Colorado’s proposal to carve out state-specific exceptions to a 2001 federal rule blocking most development on about 58 million acres of national forests.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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