By Rebecca Huntington
Jackson, WY – The Bureau of Land Management has opened a 45-day public comment period on a revised plan for drilling on the Pinedale Anticline.
In a federal notice published Friday, the BLM proposes allowing nearly 4400 natural gas wells on the anticline. There are already more than 600 wells on that uplift.
The plan considers several alternatives, including an industry request to eliminate seasonal restrictions on drilling. The BLM originally imposed those seasonal limits to protect wintering mule deer and pronghorn and breeding sage grouse during times of the year when those species are vulnerable to human disturbance.
If those limits are lifted, industry is offering to pay for habitat improvements elsewhere to make up for wildlife losses on the anticline.
The BLM estimates that expanded drilling could allow the recovery of enough natural gas to heat 12.5 million homes for 20 years. The public may comment on the drilling alternatives through February 11th.