Groups urge BLM to place environmental regs on gas development

Mar 5, 2013

Several environmental groups are urging the BLM to place environmental restrictions on a massive natural gas development that’s been proposed for south-central Wyoming.

The Continental Divide-Creston project would include about 9,000 new wells on public and private land near Wamsutter. That’s nearly three times as many wells as in the Jonah Field.

Bruce Pendery with the Wyoming Outdoor Council says air quality could suffer as a result.

“We’ve seen that in the Pinedale area,” Pendery said. “Fewer wells than this project have created highly significant air quality problems, ozone problems over there.”

Pendery wants the BLM to mitigate pollution and harm to wildlife by imposing certain environmental restrictions. For example, he says they should require horizontal drilling, to minimize the number of well pads, and he wants them to cap the amount of surface disturbance that’s allowed.

“We do not categorically object to oil and gas development in this area,” Pendery said. “But we do want to see BLM mitigate the impacts and put in place strong regulation, so that the project is done right.”

BLM issued a draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed project in December. Tomorrow is the last day for public comment. The agency did not respond to requests for an interview.