Proposed Desolation Canyon wilderness, photo by Ray Bloxham
In what can only be called “shockingly disappointing,” the Utah Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is promoting a private company’s plan to develop the Desolation Canyon proposed wilderness and destroy thousands of acres. We would have expected as much during the last administration, and indeed that’s when this company – Gasco – initially proposed its full field development plans. After an initial flurry in 2006, the project seemed to dry up and go away. Imagine our surprise this past October when the Utah BLM unveiled a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) with an “agency preferred alternative” identical to the company’s proposed action – one that would authorize nearly 1,500 new natural gas wells including 222 wells in the Desolation Canyon proposed wilderness.
The Desolation Canyon proposed wilderness is the largest roadless complex in the lower 48 states. Centered around the Desolation Canyon stretch of the Green River, the area’s spectacular solitude and endless vistas are simply awe inspiring. Sadly, this remarkable place is once again in the crosshairs for destruction. Please help protect this amazing landscape by sending a letter to the BLM today, asking them to support an alternative that would fully protect this special place from development.
While the Gasco EIS analyzes two alternatives to the company’s proposed action — both of which would mean no drilling in the Desolation Canyon proposed wilderness along with greater protections for the Green River, big game, and nearby Nine Mile Canyon — the BLM still found a way to support the company’s plans to drill in all these sensitive places.
You may have also heard in the news that last year eastern Utah experienced wintertime ozone levels as bad as any place in the country. According to Gasco’s own figures, this project will make things worse by adding to those unsafe pollution levels. Not a good idea.