Wildcat Oil Well Planned in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area -- Comments Needed!

Please take a few minutes today to write a comment letter to the National Park Service on this proposed oil well project that would damage fragile redrock lands in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument(GSENM).

Wildcat Oil Well Planned in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area -- Comments Needed!

DEADLINE IS JULY 31ST.

Please take a few minutes today to write a comment letter to the National Park Service on this proposed oil well project that would damage fragile redrock lands in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument(GSENM).  You may submit your comments online using the National Park Service's website.  See more info, and the sample letter below for suggested guidelines.

Go to:
http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?projectID=12592&documentId=11645

The Park Service is asking for scoping comments on the proposed well -- though it is not giving out much detail about the project or what resources it is most concerned about.  The Park Service and BLM need to hear from you that they must: (1) prepare an environmental impact statement to analyze this destructive project and (2) hold public meetings in major metropolitan areas such as Salt Lake City.

BACKGROUND:
The National Park Service has begun consideration of a proposed, controversial wildcat oil well in a remote corner of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  This area, known as Middle Moody Canyon, can only be accessed along a rough dirt road that first goes through one of the Bureau of Land Management's crown jewels, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

The proposed well pad and access roads would be located in classic redrock country and along a unique geologic formation known as the Waterpocket Fold.  In short, the proposed well would be located in one of the most scenic locations in the Glen Canyon
NRA/Capitol Reef National Park/Grand Staircase-Escalante Natl. Monument area.  The proposal would involve blading a drill pad (also putting in a sludge pit and holding tanks), as well as upgrading (reconstructing) and creating several miles of dirt road.  The scars from this project would- as other failed attempts in the region attest to- last for many years.

Amazingly enough, this lease was issued in 1969 and thus predates Glen Canyon NRA and the GSENM.  After a successful legal fight by the Sierra Club in the early 1970's to block a similar oil well, the lease was "suspended" by the BLM and sat idle for over 15 years.  In 1990, the lessee submitted an application for a permit to drill with the Park Service who understandably was not in any hurry to consider approving development in such a sensitive
location.  After a few years of back and forth, the lessee went away- but now they're back.  To make matters worse, the Park Service (meaning with our tax dollars) is footing the bill- $50,000 worth- for the environmental analysis.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
The Park Service is asking for scoping comments on the proposed well- though it is not giving out much detail about the project or what resources it is most concerned about.  The Park Service and BLM need to hear from you that they must: (1) prepare an environmental impact statement to analyze this destructive project and (2) hold public meetings in major metropolitan areas such as Salt Lake City.

Fill in, take the time to review and send your comment letter (see sample below) via the Park Service's website by following this link: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?projectID=12592&documentId=11645

(If this link does not immediately work or appears to be separated on two lines, simply cut and paste the entire link into your browser's navigation window and it should get you there)

THE COMMENT DEADLINE IS JULY 31St.  BUT WHY WAIT?  PLEASE WRITE
AND SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS TODAY.

You may also send written comments to:

Superintendent
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
P.O. Box 1507
691 Scenic View Drive
Page, AZ 860400-1507

 

*****SAMPLE LETTER*****

Kitty Roberts-Superintendent
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
P.O. Box 1507
691 Scenic View Drive
Page, AZ 860400-1507

Re: Proposed Viking Well Scoping Comments

Dear Ms. Roberts:

This letter expresses my serious concerns that the proposed "Viking Well" and access roads leading to that well will have significant environmental impacts to the Glen Canyon NRA and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.  Overall, I am disheartened that the National Park Service (NPS) is wasting its precious resources(both money and staff) to analyze this proposed wildcat well; the development of which would produce-by the Park Service's own estimates-an insignificant amount of oil.

The well and access roads would be located in a unique, fragile and stunning natural environment that has largely healed from the scars of previous unsuccessful wildcat oil wells.  I urge the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management to fully consider the risk of serious environmental damage to these national treasures in a detailed environmental impact statement.

Though the scoping notice regarding this project provides scant detail about the proposed well and access roads, I encourage the Park Service to fully consider, analyze and disclose impacts to the issues and concerns identified in the scoping notice.  I also call your attention to the following four points:

(1) The proposed access roads would either require new construction or substantial reworking and improvement.  The environmental analysis should be clear about the direct and indirect impacts from improving these roads, as well as any proposed airstrip improvement.

(2) Full consideration of a no-action alternative is consistent with lease rights-this simply means that the proposed well would not be drilled and the lessee would be free to submit another APD.

(3) Full consideration of an alternative in which the NPS would acquire lease rights (either outright purchase or exchange), keeping in mind the highly speculative nature of the lease and
the lessee's decision not to actively pursue drilling for several decades.

(4) The impacts that this well and access roads would have to the area's stunning visual qualities- as well as its important flora and fauna- would be significant.

In addition to preparing a detailed environmental impact statement, I also encourage NPS and BLM to hold several public meetings at both the scoping and environmental analysis stages, including one in Salt Lake City, to fully explain to the American people the risks that the proposed project poses to the Glen Canyon NRA, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante NM.  I am discouraged that the NPS and BLM decided not to hold such hearings at the outset of this highly controversial project and hope that from now on you will actively solicit and encourage public participation.

These are national resources that Congress has said deserve your utmost attention and highest level of care; please treat them as such.  Please keep me informed of any and all NPS and BLM decisions regarding this project by notifying me of your decisions by U.S. Mail at the address listed below.  Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Your name
Your address

 

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