The project area is located primarily on 177,644 acres of BLM-administered lands. Development of these resources will bring secure, domestic energy to American consumers while creating 2,710 jobs and $613 million in economic activity annually, according to a recent study prepared for the Western Energy Alliance.
As a result of a collaborative process among federal, state, local and tribal governments, Gasco and the Utah conservation community, BLM altered the boundaries of the project to further protect the resources associated with the Green River and Nine Mile Canyon. Gasco agreed to this change to further protect the valuable wild and scenic values along the Green River and the downstream Desolation Canyon.
The BLM's approval follows an extensive review that considered and incorporated feedback from outside groups. In response to comments submitted by EPA and other stakeholders, BLM developed a preferred alternative – known as "Alternative F" – that, among other steps, reduces the project's scale to 1,298 wells from the 1,491 originally proposed by Gasco. According to the EPA, this plan "substantially reduces potential impacts to air quality and water resources" by adding "vital environmental safeguards" to the project.
"We realize that there is concern and a misperception by some that Gasco's project area is within close proximity to Desolation Canyon," Mr. Grant said. "In fact, our project area is six miles from the northern edge of Desolation Canyon. Gasco appreciates that the Green River is a popular river rafting location, and it specifically removed all wells that would be visible from the Green River viewshed. Gasco is committed to responsible development and environmental stewardship throughout implementation of the project."Today's decision is a milestone, but it does not represent an endpoint in our dialogue with our stakeholders," Mr. Grant said. "We stand ready to answer questions and work collaboratively with all who share our goal of balancing prudent energy development with common-sense environmental stewardship."