BLM seeks public comment on natural gas well development proposal


BLM seeks public comment on natural gas well development proposal

The field office for the US Bureau of Land Management in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, is seeking public comment on an oil and gas exploration and development proposal on federal leases 3 miles southeast of Silt, Colorado. Bill Barrett Corporation has submitted a plan to develop up to 136 new wells from 10 proposed well pads during the next five years, beginning this fall.

Drilling on Colorado’s Western Slope is controversial due to a lack of water in the region. Opponents contend that such exploration will harm agriculture and residential growth on Colorado’s Front Range. A recent study by Western Resource Advocates underlines this point, by concluding that full-scale exploration in the area would consume as much water annually as the entire Denver metro area.
The area proposed for development encompasses about 2,700 acres, of which 1,867 acres are federal surface and minerals, 40 acres are private surface and federal minerals, and 793 acres are private surface and minerals. Primary access for the development activities would be County Roads 311 and 335.

About 4.2 miles of new access roads and 4.3 miles of pipelines would be constructed. Directional drilling technology would be used to drill the majority of the wells.

The Glenwood Springs Field Office requires operators to submit Master Development Plans so that a broad evaluation of plans and impacts can be completed, and environmental impacts and appropriate measures to mitigate these impacts can be identified. BLM does not have jurisdiction over the private surface and private minerals, but it includes them for a more complete analysis.

BLM will prepare an Environmental Assessment on this master plan. Before it completes the EA, BLM wants to hear any specific issues, concerns and comments the public would like to see addressed through the assessment. Comments will be most helpful if received by Sept. 18, 2009.

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