Friday, January 15, 2016

Oil company wants to drill in Utah’s popular Uinta Mountains - Full Article

By BRIAN MAFFLY | The Salt Lake Tribune
Jan 14 2016

A Texas company proposes drilling an exploratory well 18,000 feet into the Uinta Mountains' north slope in the hopes of discovering oil in high-elevation terrain long enjoyed by sportsmen and other outdoor enthusiasts.

The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest (UWC) is soliciting public comment through Jan. 21 on its environmental assessment of the exploration plan pursued by Burnett Oil Co., of Fort Worth, Texas. Environmental advocates are angered the Forest Service is poised to conclude that the project poses no significant environmental impact when this delicate alpine region is so important to wildlife, scenery and recreation.

Burnett owns eight leases spanning 16,000 acres surrounding its proposed well. Some of the land has been heavily logged, and some is intact and roadless.

"If this well finds oil or natural gas, then this becomes an oil field a half-mile from the High Uintas Wilderness. This country then becomes an industrial development. It's no longer a natural environment," said Dick Carter, who unsuccessfully fought leasing the North Slope a decade ago as director of the now-disbanded High Uintas Preservation Council. "There is a future for that land. With development, there isn't any future. The most disturbing part is if they don't find anything, these leases will be there as long as they want and they can come back when prices go back up..."

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  1. After having spent nearly 30 years as an oil explorationist, I can say with certainty that this is a very bad idea for the wilderness, for the atmosphere and even for Burnett Oil Company. Our public lands should not be leased for private gain at the expense of extracting unsustainable resources in a way that I can guarantee will not leave an invisible footprint during their drilling and extraction processes. Fossil fuels are an energy source of the past. Companies like Burnett Oil should be spending their capital on helping to develop alternative, sustainable energy resources, not focusing on the same old drill and burn fossil fuels strategy. This country does not need more exploratory wells on our public lands where the effect will be profits for Burnett Oil Company and at the expense of long-term damage to our already diminishing wild places. Public wild places were set aside for all the people of our country, not for the benefit of private profiteering.

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