|The Mountain-Prairie Region|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
March 24, 2005
Amelia Orton-Palmer, 303-236-8179
Service Seeks Public Comments on Proposal for Oil Development on the Triangle Ranch Wildlife Management Area in Juab County, Utah
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comment on a draft environmental assessment of the proposed Cleary Petroleum Oil Development on the Triangle Ranch Wildlife Management Area, Juab County, Utah. Public comments are welcome for a 15-day period until April 8, 2005.
The draft EA, proposed by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, analyzes Cleary Petroleum’s proposal to improve an existing two-track road, construct a new road, install one well pad, and extract oil through directional drilling on the Triangle Ranch Wildlife Management Area. Cleary Petroleum is leasing the subsurface mineral rights from a private third party under the wildlife management area.
Cleary Petroleum proposes to improve an existing two-track dirt road extending from Latter Day Saints Church property onto the wildlife area from the south. Road improvement would continue through part of the wildlife management area and the adjacent Schools Institutional Trust Lands Administration property and then onto the wildlife area again. Cleary Petroleum would construct a new unpaved road from this point directly north to the well pad site. The road would be 20 feet wide and 7,746 feet in length on the wildlife area. The amount of disturbance from road improvement and construction would be 3.56 acres.
The well pad would consist of a graded area of exposed soil installed with oil extraction structures, such as a drill rig, well with a pump, reserve pit and flare, holding tanks for produced water and oil, gathering pipelines, topsoil stockpile, heater, and storage trailers. The amount of disturbance to construct the well pad would be about 3.44 acres, plus no more than an additional acre for side-cut and fill surrounding the well pad. A typical oil well pad is usually 1 to 2 acres in size. The larger size of the proposed well pad is necessary to accommodate directional drilling. Directional drilling from the original well pad would be used to determine if oil is available for extraction north of the proposed well pad. If more oil is discovered, directional drilling would be used to extract it without constructing additional well pads.
Road improvements and construction and well pad construction would take from one to two weeks to complete. Oil production could last for up to 20 years or more. Further oil extraction could occur for another 20 years or more if more oil is discovered through directional drilling.
The Division purchased the property, in part by federal funding from a grant under the Wildlife Restoration Act, administered by the Service. The purpose of the acquisition under the grant was for preserving critical winter range for mule deer and elk. Cleary Petroleum has submitted a right-of-way application to the Division for use of the surface property so it can access its subsurface mineral rights. Because the proposed project constitutes a change in the original purpose of the grant to purchase the wildlife management area, the Division must seek approval from the Service in the form of an amendment to the grant before permitting the right-of-way. An approval of the amendment by the Service would be a federal action requiring compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.
Copies of the draft environmental assessment, which include details of the proposed action, alternative actions, affected environment, and environmental consequences, are available online by clicking on the title of the document at http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/federalassistance. Those without internet access may request copies by calling the Service’s Division of Federal Assistance at 303-236-5420. Send written comments to: Chief, Division of Federal Assistance, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 25486, Denver, CO 80225. Comments need to be postmarked by April 8, 2005.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
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