Jeff Schwartz, the co-owner of Big B's orchards in Hotchkiss, has added a campground to his growing agri-tourism business and is hopeful the collapse of the oil market will hinder future energy development in the North Fork Valley despite a green light for oil, gas and coal industries in the BLM's new resource management plan for the region. (Provided by Big B's.)

GRAND JUNCTION — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has approved for a second time two drilling projects in Colorado after considering a court-ordered greenhouse gas assessment of the development’s environmental impacts.

The two upper North Fork Valley drilling projects will total up to 226 wells and result in up to 15.66 million metric tons (17.26 million U.S. tons) of carbon dioxide emissions over a 30-year period, the Daily Sentinel reported Wednesday.

That figure amounts to “a very small percentage (approximately 0.2%) of expected emissions from all oil and gas sources in Colorado for the same 30-year period,” said Stephanie Connolly, the manager of the BLM’s Colorado Southwest District, in her findings.

The plans involve the companies SG Interests and Gunnison Energy.

In 2019, a judge had ruled that the Trump administration did not adequately examine the indirect environmental impacts of burning oil and gas and its effect on the local deer and elk populations.

Updated at 10:05 a.m. on Jan. 10, 2021, to correct to 15.66 million metric tons.

The Associated Press