BLM OKs more gas wells near Meeker |

BLM OKs more gas wells near Meeker

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

MEEKER – More natural gas wells will be drilled in northwestern Colorado under a plan approved Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The BLM approved a proposal by ExxonMobil for 20 new well pads about 15 miles west of Meeker, a town north of Rifle. Each well pad could have as many as nine wells, which would be drilled at different angles.

The company also plans to build a new gas processing plant. The wells will be in an existing gas field under development since the 1950s.

Steve Smith of The Wilderness Society said he believes drilling in an already developed area is the right approach. He added, though, that his group will continue to monitor the work because as many as 1,100 new wells could be drilled over the next several years.

ExxonMobil wants to establish up to 120 pads with multiple wells. The BLM approved the 20 pads, whose locations were specified, after reviewing the potential impacts on the environment.

The company will have to seek approval of the remaining pads as it decides where to locate them.

BLM officials said ExxonMobil will have to reduce the impacts on wildlife and the environment.

Northwest Colorado is in the midst of an energy boom, with thousands of new gas wells drilled and proposed.

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