Oil Company Agrees to Scale Back Seismic Project on Hatch Point

Following negotiations, Whiting Oil has agreed to scale back its BLM-approved seismic exploration project on wilderness-quality lands near Canyonlands National Park. Normally, these projects employ enormous “thumper trucks"50,000 pound machines with 3-foot-wide tires that hoist and drop a massive weight and “thump” the ground to locate potential oil reserves.  Fortunately, SUWA was able to negotiate with Whiting Oil, resulting in the company's agreement to hand-lay seismic lines in the proposed wilderness.  In return, SUWA has agreed not to challenge the project. The final environmental assessment of the project reflects this agreement
The purpose of the project is to map subsurface mineral and oil deposits throughout the area. The project covers 35 square miles, or roughly 22,400 acres, on Hatch Point overlooking Lockhart Basin in Canyonlands National Park.

As originally proposed, the project covered roughly 450 acres of proposed wilderness, some of which is part of the Hatch Wash proposed wilderness area, as well as an additional 4,000 acres of proposed wilderness close to the edge of Hatch Point overlooking Lockhart Basin.

SUWA submitted comments on this project with the help of an expert geophysicist. The State Historic Preservation Office and the Hopi Tribe were also actively involved in commenting and supplying information on the multitude of cultural and archeological sites in the area. As a result, Whiting Oil has vowed to “avoid” these sensitive sites during operations.


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