Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar approved this week a major natural gas project in Utah’s Uinta Basin that could develop more than 3,600 new wells over the next decade. The project will support up to 4,300 jobs during development.
By signing the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Greater Natural Buttes Project, proposed by Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Secretary Salazar approved up to 3,675 new gas wells in an existing gas producing area in Uintah County, Utah. The decision follows a landmark comprehensive public consultation and conservation stakeholder involvement effort that resulted in a balanced approach to energy production and environmental protection that will boost America’s energy economy.
The project encompasses approximately 163,000 acres — but will bring new surface disturbance to just five percent of that area (approximately 8,100 acres) as a result of the 1,484 well pads approved in the ROD, which would be drilled over a period of 10 years.
The ROD was signed at a ceremony at the Kern River Compressor Station in Salt Lake City. Secretary Salazar and Director Abbey were joined by BLM Utah Director Juan Palma and representatives of Anadarko, the Wilderness Society and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.
The BLM prepared the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) or the project in coordination with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Uintah County, which participated as formal cooperating agencies during the EIS process. The BLM also closely coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure their concerns were addressed.
As a result of a collaborative process among federal, state, local and tribal governments, Anadarko and the Utah conservation community, the project will implement best management practices in the project area to safeguard air quality and protect crucial big game winter range, sage-grouse and sage-grouse habitat, sensitive soils, visual effects and recreational use.
Article by Roger Greenway, appearing courtesy Environmental News Network.