Conservation group concerned about gas well proposal |

Conservation group concerned about gas well proposal

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE – The U.S. Forest Service is reviewing a proposal by Antero Resources for four exploratory gas wells in the East Divide/Fourmile Park roadless area.

If approved, the gas wells will set a precedent, according to Wilderness Workshop, a Carbondale-based conservation group opposed to the drilling. Antero’s application is the first development proposal Wilderness Workshop is aware of on “gap leases” that don’t have prohibitions on road building and surface disturbances, according to a preliminary analysis by the organization.

Wilderness Workshop and its environmental allies contend the gap leases have questionable legality because they were issued after implementation of the Clinton administration’s 2001 Roadless Rule – when the Bush administration tried to alter the roadless regulations. The coalition contends lands in roadless areas should have never been leased for oil and gas exploration. The status of gap leases is pending in court.

The four exploratory wells are proposed 16 miles south of Silt in the East Divide Creek area, west of Carbondale and southwest of Glenwood Springs. The area is part of the public lands the Thompson Divide Coalition wants to see off limits to drilling.

The conservation groups are urging their members to lobby the Forest Service to deny the development proposal.

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