Comments sought on proposed drilling
The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment on a proposal by Dejour Energy (USA) Corp. to drill for natural gas in the Garfield Creek State Wildlife Area south of New Castle.
However, the agency says it will put off any decisions on the proposal until the company is able to reach a surface-use agreement and wildlife-mitigation plan with the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife.
Dejour wants to drill up to 68 wells on federal leases from four new well pads over the next five years, starting in the fall. Three of the pads would be on state-owned land, and the other on BLM land.
The state can’t stop drilling beneath the wildlife area, home to critical deer and elk habitat, because it doesn’t own the minerals. However, the BLM generally has attached conditions to its federal leases there, prohibiting surface disturbance unless a surface-use agreement is reached with the state.
The no-surface-occupancy condition was applied to lease holdings connected with two of the state-owned sites where Dejour wants to drill. The BLM inadvertently failed to impose the condition when it issued a lease that would be accessed via the third pad on state land, but Dejour and the state are seeking to reach an agreement on all three pads.
All of the pads would be located near existing roads to minimize surface disturbance, the BLM says.