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BLM Opens Comment on Devon's Baxter Shale Test

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has opened for comment a plan by a subsidiary of Devon Energy Corp. to conduct seismic testing on the Baxter Shale in a remote area of Wyoming -- a controversial project that the state's governor has tried to stop.

The BLM Rock Springs Field Office last week began seeking comments on the first part of Devon's Baxter Natural Gas Proposal. Devon wants to conduct a 3-D seismic survey of 42 square miles of public lands in the Sugarloaf Special Management Area and Currant Creek Area of Critical Environmental Concern. The area is south of Rock Springs, WY, and the proposed seismic project area is located near Little Mountain, WY, in Sweetwater County.

Geophysical exploration would help Devon determine the potential for oil and gas resources in underlying geologic formations. According to Devon, the testing would be conducted using helicopter-portable drilling and recording devices to minimize environmental impact to the area. Project vehicles would be limited to existing two tracks, improved roads and pre-approved routes to minimize disturbance. No vibroseis vehicles would be used.

Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal in February criticized Devon's project in a letter to BLM (see NGI, Feb. 18). Sweetwater County, he said, a popular hunting and recreational area, was not the place for a small project that could turn into a large-scale development.

The scoping notice and plan of action is available at BLM's Wyoming website at Comments are due by June 10 and should be mailed to Jeromy Caldwell, Rock Springs Field Office, 280 Highway 191 North, Rock Springs, WY 82901, or e-mail Add "Rubicon 3D Seismic Survey" in the subject line of e-mails.

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