Forest Services Seeks to Approve 16 New Gas Wells

September 17, 2015 –

The Forest Service has proposed to approve a project for 25 new gas wells in the upper North Fork Valley, and specifically approve surface operations for 16 new wells on Gunnison National Forest lands.

The draft Environmental Assessment (EA) is for up to 25 new natural gas wells in northern Gunnison County. The wells were proposed by Gunnison Energy and SG Interests and would be located within and adjacent to beautiful and wildlife-rich public lands, and would require fracking, miles of new pipeline and road construction, and significant water use.

Citizens for a Healthy Community (CHC) urges you to help us protect this sensitive landscape by filing an objection. In order to have standing to file an objection, you must have submitted comments on this proposal during either the scoping comment period or on the draft EA.

The EA for this proposal has several major faults and shortcomings which pose a serious threat to your public lands, water resources, wildlife, and the environment. This is your last opportunity to object to the Forest Service’s decision on this proposal.

Written and emailed objections must be received no later than Friday, October 23, 2015. Submit your comments to Please personalize your comments, and consider raising the following issues:

  • The BLM and Forest Service should not move forward with approval of applications until the 1989 Resource Management Plan (RMP) is completed. The 26-year old(!) RMP did not analyze today’s modern extraction techniques, including fracking, and failed to anticipate the pace of development now facing the Upper North Fork Valley.
  • The EA does not consider reasonable alternatives that would better safeguard the environment, instead only analyzing the proposed action and a no-action alternative. For example, the EA does not consider fewer well pads than those proposed by industry, and does not include an alternative to minimize the wasteful release of methane.
  • The EA underestimates the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts that would occur to wildlife and wildlife habitat. For example, four of the five well pad locations and much of the associated infrastructure lie within mapped elk winter range, and the EA is silent concerning impacts to the nearby Pilot Knob Roadless Area.
  • The EA fails to adequately address cumulative impacts from this proposal in conjunction with the assault of drilling, fracking and energy development across the Upper North Fork Valley. The proposed action is in close proximity to the Bull Mountain Unit, a 146 natural gas well proposal currently being analyzed in a separate process.

Your participation is critical to protect the Upper North Fork Valley from an increasingly interconnected patchwork of gas drilling, pipelines, roads and infrastructure.

Requirements to File an Objection

The Forest Service requires that each objection contain the following information in order to be considered valid:

  • Objector’s name and address, and telephone number (if available);
  • Signature or other verification of authorship upon request (a scanned signature for electronically filed objections is valid);
  • When multiple names are listed on an objection, identification of a lead objector;
    Name of the proposed project: Dual Operator Proposal: Development of 25 Federal Natural Gas Wells and Associated Infrastructure on 5 Multi-well Pads;
  • The name and title of the responsible official: Scott Armentrout, Forest Supervisor;
    The name of the forest and ranger districts on which the proposed project would be implemented: Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forest, Paonia Ranger District;
  • A description of those aspects of the proposed project addressed by the objection, including specific issues related to the proposed project; if applicable, how the objector believes the environmental analysis or draft decision violates law, regulation, or policy; suggested remedies that would resolve the objection; supporting reasons for the reviewing officer to consider;
  • A statement that demonstrates the connection between prior written comments on the particular proposed project or activity and the content of the objection, unless the objection concerns an issue that arose after the designated opportunities for comment; incorporation of documents by reference is permitted only as provided for at 36 CFR §218.8(b).

More Information

  • Click here for an interested parties letter about the draft decision dated September 4, 2015.
  • Click here for the draft Environmental Assessment (caution – large file size of 13.2 MB).
  • Click here for the draft Decision Notice & Finding of No Significant Impact.
  • Click here for an interested parties letter and map dated June 18, 2015.
  • Click here for the USFS web site for this project.
  • Click here to read CHC’s comments on the draft EA.

Remember that your objection must be received no later than Friday, October 23rd. Thank you for your participation in this important issue and for all that you do for CHC and our community!


Photo credit:  Bruce Gordon, EcoFlight.

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