A Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed resource management plan (RMP) and final environmental impact statement (FEIS) was issued Friday for about 1.5 million acres in Utah’s Grand and northern San Juan counties. Among other things, the RMP would allow up to 432 oil and natural gas wells on a portion of the land.

The Moab, UT, BLM office said release of the RMP and FEIS initiated a 30-day protest period, which ends Sept. 2. BLM prepared the documents, in consultation with state and county officials, using nearly 33,000 public comments received when the draft documents were issued.

“We read and took into account each and every comment we received,” said Shelley Smith, the agency’s Canyon County district manager. “The comment process really helped refine the proposed plan and our analyses of management alternatives.”

Under the proposed RMP, BLM would allow wells on some of the acreage — something that was included in the draft. BLM also would declare 17,000 acres off limits to drilling and 217,480 acres open only to slant drilling so that no rigs would be visible on the parcels. Acreage devoted to special recreation management areas would increase fourfold and nearly 63,000 acres would be managed as areas of critical concern. BLM also noted that 10 river segments would be suitable for a wild and scenic designation, and about 47,700 acres would be managed as wilderness study areas.

Following the protest period BLM plans to issue a record of decision to authorize the management decisions in the RMP. More information on the RMP and FEIS is available at www.blm.gov/ut.

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