Commissioners Ratify Comments on BLM Proposals

Commissioners Ratify Comments on BLM Proposals

SWEETWATER COUNTY – The Sweetwater County commissioners ratified comments from the Coalition of Local Governments focusing on area resource management plans and a CO2 disposal well application.

The coalition represents several local governments and conservation districts within southwestern Wyoming, including the Sweetwater County Board of County Commissioners and the Sweetwater County Conservation District. The comments were approved as part of the commissioners’ consent agenda, a group of agenda items which require a single vote amongst the commissioners to approve. The three comment letters approved focus on action being considered by the Bureau of Land Management.

The first comment letter regards an application for a CO2 disposal well proposed by Exxon Mobil. The proposed well would impact lands in both Sweetwater and Lincoln Counties, with a wellsite proposed to be built northeast of Kemmerer. The coalition requests the disposal well site be moved further southwest and closer to an existing oil and gas road that connects with Highway 189 because the current site proposed is located about two miles from Fontenelle Dam, with access to the site being primarily from Lincoln County Road 316. That road primarily provides access to the dam and a nearby campground. The coalition also believes heavy truck traffic on the road would increase wildlife casualties resulting from truck collisions.

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The second letter focuses on the Rawlins Evaluation Report for the Rawlins Resource Management Plan. Among the six pages of comments, the coalition believes the BLM didn’t meet its monitoring commitments that were outlined in the Rawlins RMP.

“If the BLM moves forward with a full-scale RMP revision, then it will also need updated inventories and data to properly evaluate and support any changes in management,” the letter states.

The coalition also believes the BLM treats Lands with Wilderness Characteristics and Wilderness Study Areas as the same, but argues they are not in its letter.

The final comment letter focuses on sage grouse draft RMP amendments, with the coalition arguing the BLM doesn’t need to designated sage grouse habitat as areas of critical environmental concern as it believes the BLM can’t show specific sage grouse habitat that is unique, or regionally or nationally significant within 69 million acres of habitat. The coalition also believes the BLM can’t show any habitat requires special management over an amendment issued in 2015.