A cooperative model for gas development

Nine Mile Canyon, west of the Green River in north-central Utah, has been called the world’s longest art gallery because of the extensive number of prehistoric drawings along its rock walls. But, in recent years, the region around the canyon has also faced the potential of extensive natural gas development.

Now, thanks to an agreement announced last week that should be a model for gas development in other sensitive locations, it appears drilling will proceed by Bill Barrett Corp.

Barrett has its share of critics in Colorado and elsewhere over how it handles environmental issues. But in the Nine Mile case, it worked not only with the Bureau of Land Management and Ute Indian leaders to forge an agreement. Also at the table were conservation groups, archaeology groups and state officials.

The company, which must drive equipment through the canyon to reach its leases for 800 wells on surrounding mesas, has agreed to apply oil sands to the road through the canyon to harden it and cut down on dust that can scour the ancient artwork.

The BLM will provide more careful monitoring of not only the well sites but the entire canyon to prevent deterioration.

Congratulations to all those for achieving this cooperative agreement.


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