A news release about the protest said such development would release "intensive greenhouse gas emissions, hasten Colorado River drying, threaten wildlife and increase local and regional air pollution."
"The climate crisis is worsening every day. The last thing we need is to destroy our public lands for carbon-intensive oil shale and tar-sands mining," said Taylor McKinnon, public lands campaigns director with the Center for Biological Diversity.
Last month, the BLM made public a plan that dramatically scaled back a Bush administration plan to allow leasing on rangelands in the three states.
The 806,000-acre recommendation about 1,250 square miles was one-third of what the Bush administration had proposed to lease.
BLM Colorado State Director Helen Hankins said the compromise proposal takes a responsible cautious approach to resource development.
"Today's leases demonstrate our continued commitment to encouraging research and development that will help fill in some of the existing knowledge gaps when it comes to technology, water use and potential impacts of commercial-scale oil shale development," Hankins said in a prepared statement issued Nov. 9 with its recommendation and a 6,245-page environmental impact statement. "To date, technological and economic conditions have not combined to support a sustained commercial oil shale industry, and this plan lays a strong foundation to explore oil shale's potential."
A 30-day protest period ended Monday, after the environmental groups filed their 94-page protest.
For more information on the BLM plan, go to on.doi.gov/STHqH9.