The BLM and Forest Service are accepting public comments on an Environmental Assessment (EA) for up to 25 new natural gas wells in northern Gunnison County. The proposed wells, located within and adjacent to beautiful and wildlife-rich public lands, would require fracking, miles of new pipeline and road construction, and significant water use.

Furthermore, the wells would be developed by Gunnison Energy and SG Interests, two companies previously charged with alleged collusion and that paid a hefty fine to settle those allegations. High Country Conservation Advocates (HCCA) and Citizens for a Healthy Community (CHC) urge you to help us protect this sensitive landscape by submitting comments and concerns to the BLM.

The EA for this proposal has several major faults and shortcomings which pose a serious threat to your public lands, water resources, wildlife and environment. To make sure that these resources are properly protected in the Upper North Fork Valley, the BLM and Forest Service need to hear from you!

Written and emailed comments must be received
no later than Tuesday, August 4, 2015.

Please personalize your comments, and consider raising the following issues:

  • The BLM and Forest Service should not move forward with approval of applications until the 1989 Resource Management Plan (RMP) is completed. The 26-year old(!) RMP did not analyze today’s modern extraction techniques, including fracking, and failed to anticipate the pace of development now facing the Upper North Fork Valley.
  • The EA does not consider reasonable alternatives that would better safeguard the environment, instead only analyzing the proposed action and a no-action alternative. For example, the EA does not consider fewer well pads than those proposed by industry, and does not include an alternative to minimize the wasteful release of methane.
  • The EA underestimates the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts that would occur to wildlife and wildlife habitat. For example, four of the five well pad locations and much of the associated infrastructure lie within mapped elk winter range, and the EA is silent concerning impacts to the nearby Pilot Knob Roadless Area.
  • The EA fails to adequately address cumulative impacts from this proposal in conjunction with the assault of drilling, fracking and energy development across the Upper North Fork Valley. The proposed action is in close proximity to the Bull Mountain Unit―a 146 natural gas well proposal currently being analyzed in a separate process.

Your input is critical to protect the Upper North Fork Valley from an increasingly interconnected patchwork of gas drilling, pipelines, roads and infrastructure. Submit your comments today!

E-mail comments to:  blm_co_ufo3160@blm.gov

Or send written comments to:
Bureau of Land Management, Uncompahgre Field Office
Attn: Thane Stranathan
2465 South Townsend Ave.,
Montrose, CO 81401

Click here for an interested parties letter and map, and click here to read the draft EA. Remember that your comments must be received no later than Tuesday, August 4th. Thank you for all you do for the environment!

*A previous version of this post did not list the correct e-mail address for comment submission.