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July 31, 2008

   Curtis Bryan

BLM to Prepare Beaver Creek
 Coal Bed Natural Gas Development Project EIS

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Lander Field Office today issued a Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to analyze the potential impacts of a proposed coal bed natural gas development project known as the Beaver Creek Coal Bed Natural Gas (CBNG) Development Project.

The project, encompassing approximately 16,515 acres, is located in Fremont County approximately 9 miles southeast of Riverton, Wyo., within the Beaver Creek Unit area. Approximately 82 percent of the project area is public lands and Federal mineral estate administered by the BLM, with some interspersed State and private lands and other mineral estate.

A 45-day scoping period will be conducted to gather input from the public and interested parties to assist in addressing issues associated with the various action alternatives for development. Comments will be accepted through Sep. 12, 2008.

The proponent, Devon Energy Production Co. LP (Devon), has submitted a proposal to drill up to 228 natural gas wells, of which 208 would produce CBNG and about 20 would produce conventional natural gas. The estimated drilling and completion period would occur over the course of 5 to 10 years and the life of the project is anticipated to be between 20 and 40 years. Devon proposes to drill the CBNG wells at a density of one well every 40 acres.

The proposed CBNG wells are expected to be drilled vertically and would be completed in the Mesa Verde formation, while the proposed conventional gas wells would likely be completed in the Madison and Phosphoria formations. Because the target formations are located in different geologic formations, conventional gas wells may overlap with the CBNG well density. Facilities associated with the proposed project include access roads, pipelines, overhead power lines, central production facilities, four water disposal (re-injection) wells, two evaporation ponds, and equipment storage areas. The Beaver Creek Unit has experienced extensive gas development over the last 50 years, and the proponent would utilize existing roads and facilities to the extent practical.

Potential resource issues have been identified concerning the proposed action include: impacts to air quality; disposal of produced waste water; and the potential effects of development and production on surface resources including vegetation, cultural resources, and wildlife habitat.

The BLM will analyze these potential natural resource impacts, as well as examine public comments and concerns, to ensure the best decision is made when determining the action alternatives for the proposed project.

Public scoping meetings will be scheduled in Lander and Riverton, Wyo., to identify relevant issues. Meetings will be advertised through local media, newsletters, individual mailings, and the BLM web site at www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/lfodocs/beavercreek_cbng.html at least 15 days prior to each meeting. The public is invited and encouraged to attend the meetings and submit comments or concerns to be considered in the EIS process.  Additional opportunities will be provided for public participation upon publication of the Draft EIS. 

Please submit written comments by any of the following methods: Web site:  www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/lfodocs/beavercreek_cbng.html • E-mail: Lander_WYMail@blm.gov. • Fax: 307–332–8444 • Mail: Lander Field Office, 1335 Main Street, Lander, WY 82520. If you wish to withhold your name, e-mail address, or street address from public review, please state this plainly at the beginning of your written comment.

- BLM –