The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service are taking public comment until April 24, 2015 on a 6 Application for Permit to Drill (APD proposal. This proposal would allow for up to 25 new natural gas wells over the next five (5) years. The agencies grouped these individual APDs so they could be analyzed collective in an environmental assessment (EA). Two operators, SG Interests and Gunnison Energy Corp, are each proposing three APDs.

The nuts and bolts of the proposal are:

  • Four (4) new multi-well pads disturbing 15.5 acres;
  • Up to twenty-five (25) new natural gas wells;
  • Two (2) miles of pipelines;
  • Over three and a half (3.55) miles of road construction or reconstruction; and
  • A total initial disturbance of 31.6 acres.

This public comment period is a scoping period. Scoping is your opportunity to comment on the issues, concerns, and alternatives you want the BLM and the Forest Service to address in its analysis! Your comments are most helpful when they identify big picture issues and concerns.

The proposed action is in close proximity to the Bull Mountain Unit―a 146 natural gas well, 4 waste-water injection well proposal―and raises a number of issues that the agencies need to disclose and analyze. Many of the proposed well pads are close to riparian areas as well as located within important big game habitat.

Here are some points you can make in your comments:

  • The BLM and the Forest Service must consider direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of this 6 APD proposal in conjunction with other existing, proposed, and reasonably foreseeable extraction and impacts in the Upper North Fork of the Gunnison River. This includes issues and impacts to:
    • Climate change;
    • Air quality and viewsheds;
    • Traffic and public safety;
    • Water quality and quantity;
    • Wildlife (aquatic and terrestrial);
    • Geologic hazards;
    • Socio-economics, including local agriculture and tourist based economies;
  • The BLM and the Forest Service must consider a reasonable range of alternatives. A few ideas you can suggest are to:
    • Consider well pad locations and fewer well pads than was proposed by SG Interests and Gunnison Energy so alternative well pas locations and amounts that would reduce impacts are explored and adopted.
    • Analyze an alternative that would adopt a development pace that would not disturb these locations simultaneously with other large proposals.
    • Include an alternative that minimizes the release of methane caused by flaring, venting, and leaking, such as through requiring best available methane reduction technology.
    • Include an alternative that requires best management practices for oil and gas development as stipulations on all parcels.

Remember that comments must be received by the BLM by close of business on April 24th. Don’t delay – submit your comments today!

  • Email: blm_co_ufo3160@blm.gov
  • Mail: BLM Uncompahgre Field Office, Attn: Thane Stranathan, 2465 S. Townsend Avenue, Montrose, CO 81401
  • Fax: 970.240.5368