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News & Releases
Mountain-Prairie Region

News Release

Service Seeks Comments on Thurston Energy, LLC’s Proposed Oil and Gas Wells on Ouray National Wildlife Refuge in Uintah County, Utah

For Immediate Release

March 10, 2014

The Green River at Ouray NWR. Credit: Jaclyn Kircher / USFWS

LAKEWOOD, Colo. –The Ouray National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is seeking comments from the public on a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for Thurston Energy, LLC’s (Thurston) proposed Ouray NWR 2-Well Development Program in Uintah County, Utah.

A 30-day public scoping period for the EA opened March 10, 2014.  Comments will be accepted through April 8, 2014.

Thurston is proposing to drill, complete and operate two (2) oil and natural gas wells from two (2) proposed well pad locations on the Ouray NWR in Uintah County, Utah.  The proposed development would require the construction and maintenance of associated access roads, gathering pipelines, and overhead electrical lines.  Specifically, Thurston’s Proposed Action includes the following primary components:

  • Construction of two (2) well pads, each averaging approximately 1.6 acres in size;
  • Construction of approximately 513 feet of new access road;          
  • Installation of up to 3.0 miles (15,710 feet) of co-located surface pipeline and 0.34 miles (1,815 feet) of "cross-country pipeline";
  • Installation of approximately 9,768 feet of overhead electrical distribution lines; and
  • Installation of up to two fluid separators, three produced water tanks, three condensate storage tanks, and one dehydration unit on each well pad.

In May 2012, Thurston provided proof of ownership of outstanding mineral rights beneath portions of the Ouray NWR. Thurston recognizes the importance of national wildlife refuges and has committed to minimizing any impacts to natural resources throughout exploration. The Service will work with Thurston to minimize impacts to the Ouray NWR. The Service Refuge Planning Division has prepared this EA in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other relevant Federal and State laws and regulations to analyze proposed oil and natural gas development by Thurston within the Ouray NWR boundary.  The Service is obligated to provide maximum protections of the Ouray NWR, while providing mineral owner’s reasonable access and exploration rights to their mineral estates; thus, the Service will evaluate the Proposed Action and alternatives to assess the extent to which actions may degrade NWR resources.

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The draft EA is available on the Refuge web site at:  http://www.fws.gov/ouray/.  A paper copy can be reviewed during business hours (7:30-4:00) at the Ouray NWR Office at HC 69, 19001 Wildlife Refuge Rd., Randlett, Utah 84063.  Comments should be submitted in writing by mail to the Ouray NWR Office or by email to sonja_jahrsdoerfer@fws.gov.

For more information, please call the Ouray NWR Office at (435) 545-2522.

– FWS –

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Office of External Affairs

Mountain-Prairie Region

134 Union Blvd

Lakewood, CO 80228


303-236-3815 FAX



Sonja Jahrsdoerfer
(435) 545-2522

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The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Last modified: March 12, 2014
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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