Governor Matt Mead says he supports a significant natural gas development in Carbon and Sweetwater Counties, which would create thousands of jobs in Wyoming. Governor Mead sent several comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) with ideas to make sure that the project is done in a way that reduces environmental impacts and maximizes production.
"This project could be significant for the economy of Wyoming, creating many valuable jobs and it can produce energy that will power our nation's economy. But, it all must be done in a way that protects Wyoming's air, water and wildlife," Governor Mead said. The project is called the Continental Divide-Creston Natural Gas Development Project (CD-C Project). Operators have proposed a play with 8,950 oil and gas wells.
In his comments to the BLM Governor Mead noted a problematic situation with the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), it does not have a preferred alternative. "The CD-C DEIS is two volumes and more than 900 pages in length (not including the Air Quality Technical Support Document). Without the benefit of knowing the BLM's preferred alternative, the public is required to evaluate the entire document, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to understand what mix of development and surface use best accomplishes the purpose and need," Governor Mead wrote. He asks that the BLM work with cooperating agencies and select a preferred alternative before the agency's final decision.
Governor Mead has often discussed the benefit of acquiring baseline data before a project gets underway. He notes that the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has done the most comprehensive baseline air quality research for any oil and gas project in state history for this proposed development. He complimented the BLM for deferring to Wyoming on air quality and working with the DEQ to address the effects of potential emissions. "I expect the BLM to engage DEQ in its technical analysis and regulatory response. This partnership ensures avoidance, minimization and mitigation of air quality impacts. I encourage operators to work with the DEQ to implement the best available technology, not only when a permit requires such action, but as a matter of common practice," Governor Mead wrote.
Governor Mead also urged the BLM to use proper reclamation to benefit wildlife and grazing permittees, and also to do a more thorough analysis of socioeconomic impacts of each alternative.