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Re: [wsbn] energy development

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  • Ron Lambeth
    Okay Larry (and Kathy), I don t know about this. I ll check the website AFTER commenting. It looks like the well spacing is a little more dense than 16 per
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 12, 2006
      Okay Larry (and Kathy),
      I don't know about this.  I'll check the website AFTER commenting.  It looks like the well spacing is a little more dense than 16 per section (square mile).  This is, 1 well per 40 acres plus some areas more densely drilled.  If you estimate about 3 acres per well for the well pad & roads (assume the pipelines will be rehabilitated promptly or put under roads) you get the figure of 7.5 percent of the land remaining unvegetated for a few decades.  But, since all of the wells won't be producers we could say the percent of land remaining unvegetated might be half that, say, 3.75.  Of course, removing the vegetation and immediately letting it go back to vegetative cover is not without its consequences.  All of the wells won't be drilled at once so you need to factor in the field development time, which could be anybody's guess, but mmmm, 20 years seems reasonable to me.  The percent of the land that is already disturbed, the old scars, the existing roads, etc. need to be calculated too.  Let's say that north of Craig there is an average of 1.75 miles of road per square mile and the roads average about 30 feet wide of disturbed ground, which means that there is already 63.6 acres of disturbed ground per section (10 percent).  If we say that 25 percent of the existing disturbance will be useable in the field development, then we can estimate that 2.8125 percent of 160,000 acres (4,500 acres) will remain unvegetated for a few decades due to the field development.  It'll be interesting to see what the BLM comes up with.  Anyway look at it this way.  Suppose only 3.75 percent of your face has little zits covering it, but that 3.75 percent is distributed more or less evenly across your face.  How noticeable would your problem be?  With an active well on every 80 acres each one being visited once a week by a person driving a pickup truck, what impact do you suppose that will have on deer and elk on those 80 acres?  With the new roads, the public use across the land will increase also.  The deer will adjust somewhat to the traffic.  You should consider the impact of waste water reserve pits and heater-treater vertical pipes, both of which can trap and kill wildlife.  This can be minimized if BLM and citizen watchers are on top of placing the right stipulations upon the O&G developers.  The biggest issue north of Craig, I would think, will revolve around the Greater Sage-grouse.  Can they persist with that much sagebrush habitat intrusion (fragmentation by un-natural intrusions).  Will West-Nile virus be a bigger problem with mosquitos coming from the reserve pits?  Can the "Guidelines Manage Sage Grouse Populations and Their Habitats" be followed? The bottom line:  Nobody has published a thorough study on the effect on the biological community of a sizeable O&G field development; amazing as that may seem.  There are a number of environmental assessments made before fields are developed, but there never is a complete follow-up monitoring to check how good the EA was.  Some things are monitored, vegetation recovery, for example, but most items mentioned in an EA are not followed quantitatively.  In Mesa County right now it is the surface and ground water issues that seem to get the attention of the decision-makers.  Its citizens taking an interest that assures the best possible outcomes.

      larry arnold <larnold47@...> wrote:
      ha!  another environmental impasse statement is brewing!!
      I had to say that before Ron did!   =)
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Monday, September 11, 2006 1:54 PM
      Subject: [wsbn] energy development

      I tore this article out of the paper and upon closer reading, realized I didn't know much about this area, so am forwarding it to the group in case any of you far-ranging birders would like to comment:
      "The [BLM] is seeking [comments] on a large proposed natural gas development spilling into CO from WY.
           The BLM wants to know what Coloradans think about the proposed Hiawatha Regional Energy Development that would allow Questar Exploration and Production Co. and the Wexpro Co. to drill 4207 new gas wells on nearly 160,000 acres in Moffat Co. and Sweetwater Co., WY.
      Of those wells, about 1400 would be drilled in CO north of Craig.
           The development plan would allow for 200 wells to be drilled per year for 30 years.
           The proposed drilling area is part of an old natural gas field first developed in the 1920s.
           The BLM is asking for public comments so it can develop an environmental impast statement for the development under NEPA.
           The agency says the statement will address impacts of natural gas development on CO River salinity control, wildlife winter range, air quality, raptor nesting, grazing, soil erosion and historic trails."
      Public comment period ends October 20, 2006.
      Comments send to hiawatha_eis_ wymail@blm. gov. (There are actually underlines where spaces appear.)   More info at www.blm.gov/ eis/wy/hiawatha.

      Get your own web address for just $1.99/1st yr. We'll help. Yahoo! Small Business.

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