Natural Gas Project Raises Objections From Energy Industry

(Gillette, Wyo.) Last Fall, EOG Resources requested an Environmental Impact Statement for 120,000 acres of land between Wright and Bill, on the dividing line between Southern Campbell and Northern Converse counties. The Bureau of Land Management has released a "scoping report," which is their summary of public concerns about the proposed project, called "Greater Crossbow." The company wants to drill approximately 1500 oil and natural gas wells on the property over the course of 10 years. It would involve state lands, private lands, and about 5700 acres of the Thunder Basin National Grasslands. About half the area involved is already developed for possible coal mining, which is of particular concern to the Wyoming Mining Association. In a statement, they expressed concerns that there may not be enough research in to the area to grant EOG use of the land. "Several questions were [...] relating to which aquifers are to be impacted for water withdrawal and also for waste water disposal. BLM and project proponent personnel were all unable to answer questions about both of these topics at the scoping meeting." [image: maps.png] Cloud Peak objected to the project, as well, stating: "The Project as proposed, described and noticed by EOG and the BLM to date does not comply with numerous basic [National Environmental Policy Act] requirements and totally fails to provide the 'hard look' analysis, alternative discussion and disclosure that NEPA always mandates for this type of proposal on federal lands." Peabody Energy was also unhappy with the type of report being drawn up, called "programmatic." They, too, wish for a more in-depth look at what concentrated drilling would do to the air and water in the area, as well as if it will compromise their coal lease claims. In general, most of the response has been concern for the wildlife -- sage grouse, pronghorn, and mule deer -- and the air and water quality after "spine and rib" drilling begins. Wyoming Fish & Game, the National Park Service, and the Northern Arapaho Tribe are among the agencies concerned with hunting and migration control of animals in the Grasslands. The Wyoming Outdoor Council also requested a quarter-mile setback of wells from all residences. In addition to its impact on the environment, Campbell and Converse County Commissioners were interested in finding out what the socioeconomic effects of drilling in these areas would bring to their local communities. When public comment was sought, only 19 letters were received from Wyoming residents in regards to Crossbow. 30 residents from Gillette attended the public meeting in December. The BLM is now using questions and concerns raised during this public "scoping" period to research and review Crossbow. A final report is not scheduled to be released until the winter of 2018. *Photo h/t BLM // Pitchengine Communities* #county17 #dally #oilcity #news